Player to watch: Freshman was recruited by 37 schools

By: Katrina Kowtiz, Guest Writer

One of the new players on Newaman’s women’s soccer roster is 18-year-old Allison Hernandez — a freshman from Blair, Nebraska, who chose Newman over 36 other schools that tried to recruit her.

Hernandez said she grew up in a family full of soccer fans and has always been surrounded by the game. She started playing at age 4.

“I knew from a young age that I’ve always wanted to play college sports,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez was late to the recruiting process during her junior year at Blair High School. She’d also played for Gretna Elite Academy, which is in an Elite Club Regional League in Nebraska. During her senior year of high school, her team played in a showcase in Kansas City.

“I scored six goals out of the three games, and that's when the emails started coming in,” Hernandez said.

Dylan Gruntzel, the women’s soccer coach at Newman, reached out to Hernandez twice but she said she wasn’t interested, she said, mostly because she was fielding calls from 37 schools — some of the schools were from NAIA, some Division 2 and some Division 1.

But Hernandez finally decided to visit Newman. She attended a practice and enjoyed the environment.

“I initially didn’t want to go to Newman University because it was so far from home,” she said.

In the winter, Hernandez, who also played for her high school basketball team, committed to Newman University.

“After my basketball practice, I called Dylan that afternoon wanting to commit to Newman University," Hernandez said.

So far, Hernandez has developed into the offensive line and has had many opportunities to score. In the team’s second scrimmage of the season vs. Tabor College, Hernandez was given the chance for a penalty kick in the middle of first half and made the first goal of her college career.

“The college level is more stressful, even as a freshman,” she said. “I was nervous but very excited.”

Hernandez is majoring in sports media and promotion. She said she would like to one day work for the NFL, MLS or the NBA or as a sideline reporter or social media coordinator for ESPN.

The women’s soccer team is now 1-3 on the season. The team will play again today at home vs. Central Oklahoma. The game starts at 7 p.m.

PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Grant Egger