Jocelyn Lopez and Abigail Martinez accomplished a lot while playing a combined six seasons of high school and club soccer together.
The 2019 Central Valley grads are currently teaming up at the college level.
They made their debut as true freshmen at Stanislaus State earlier this month.
“I’m happy I get to continue this journey with her,” Martinez said. “It’s super special. Every time we’re on the field together, we make a difference.”
“I’m really happy I get to keep playing with a person and player like her,” Lopez said. “We keep each other accountable. We motivate each other. Communicating with her on the field is easy. We’ve been doing that for years. We have a really good friendship off the field.”
“They’ve slid right in and made an impact. They’ve been fantastic additions. They understand how to play the game.”Stanislaus State head coach Gabriel Bolton
“They’ve slid right in and made an impact,” Stanislaus State head coach Gabriel Bolton said. “They’ve been fantastic additions. They understand how to play the game.”
Lopez became the first female athlete from Central Valley High School to earn a college soccer scholarship when she signed a national letter of intent with Stanislaus State on Dec. 5.
She was recruited to play forward but has since switched positions out of necessity.
Lopez starts at center back on defense.
“There’s a lot of different tactics to use when you’re on the back line,” Lopez said. “I’m getting more comfortable through practices and games.”
“My full intent was to play her at forward,” Bolton stated. “But we needed help on defense. She’s so skillful with the ball. She’s a very bright player.”
“I’ve always been a team player,” Lopez added. “I’m doing what’s best for the program.”
Martinez was a late addition to the team.
She was recruited by Stanislaus State and Sonoma State.
“We’re happy she chose us,” Bolton said.
“I did want her to go here,” Lopez said. “I wasn’t too annoying. I left it up to her.”
“I’m happy I stayed local,” Martinez said. “She (Lopez) didn’t put any pressure on me. I made the best decision for myself.”
Martinez plays defensive midfielder.
She starred at sweeper at Central Valley.
“She’s doing a great job,” Bolton said. “A good soccer player can play anywhere.”
“It’s a new position I’ve never played,” Martinez said. “But I’m still in the middle. I do the same thing. I play defense and distribute the ball.”
Lopez and Martinez both contributed as Stanislaus State won a pair of games while finishing in first place in front of family and friends at the Warriors Challenge in Turlock.
“It gives us a lot of confidence,” Lopez said.
“Us being at home is a huge advantage,” she added. “We played with a lot of energy.”
Stanislaus State shut out No. 22 Concordia 2-0 on Sept. 7.
Martinez was on the field for 39 minutes. She entered the game midway through the first half.
Stanislaus State rallied for a 4-3 win over Southern Oregon in double overtime on Sept. 5.
Lopez was a starter.
Martinez contributed off the bench during the second half.
Lopez was selected to the Warrior Challenge All-Tournament Team.
Stanislaus State climbed to No. 21 in the NCAA Division-II United Soccer Coaches rankings on Sept. 19 after keeping its perfect record intact with a 4-1 win over Notre Dame de Namur.
The Warriors improved to 4-0-0 overall.
“Every game is exciting and tough,” Martinez said. “You have to play every game like it’s your last.”
“I have a really crazy schedule throughout the week,” Lopez said. “Every day is a grind. It’s a lot of work behind the scenes.”
Stanislaus State had its streak of consecutive playoff appearances snapped at seven seasons in 2017.
The Warriors posted an 8-7-3 record and tied for sixth place with Cal State Monterey Bay in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (4-6-2) last fall.
“We set our expectations high,” Lopez said. “Keeping that hungry mindset, we’ll be able to accomplish our goals. I think we can get very far this year.”
Stanislaus State’s roster features 35 players, including six former Ceres Earthquakes club soccer players in Jocelyn, Abigail, Edith Larranaga (Ceres High), Jazzmyn Garcia (Pitman), Kyla Yang (El Capitan) and Daisy Martinez (Turlock).
“Recruiting starts local,” Bolton said. “The Valley is talent-rich when it comes to women’s soccer.”
Four-year starters in high school, Lopez and Martinez helped lead Central Valley to 77 victories, one section finals appearance, four conference titles and four playoff berths.
Lopez scored a program-record 96 goals and dished out 45 assists during her career.
She won her second consecutive league-Most Valuable Player award this past winter.
Lopez had 33 goals and 11 assists on the year.
Martinez was named Central California Conference Defensive Player of the Year during her final season with the Hawks.
She anchored a defense that surrendered just eight goals in 12 league games.
She chipped in on offense as well with six goals and three assists.
Central Valley amassed a 17-7-2 overall record, captured its fourth straight league championship and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II playoffs. The Hawks claimed the CCC crown with a 10-0-2 mark.
Lopez and Martinez played soccer together for two seasons with the Ceres Earthquakes FC National Premier Club.
Lopez and Martinez filled key roles as the Earthquakes climbed to No. 1 in the gotsoccer.com national rankings in July.
“They’ve been able to transition smoothly,” Bolton said. “They were well-coached in high school and club.”
“We’ve had this goal since we were really young,” Martinez said. “We’ve prepared for this moment our whole lives. That’s why we worked so hard.”
“I’m having a lot of fun,” Lopez said. “Growing up, I always went to Stanislaus State games. The plan is to come in and make an impact. It would mean a lot to make playoffs.”