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Holliday realizes dream
• Ceres resident Harlye Holliday commits to Cal State East Bay women’s soccer
Harlye Holliday
Harlye Holliday’s patience and hard work paid off this past month when she signed a national letter of intent with the Cal State East Bay Women’s soccer program. Holliday, a senior at Central Catholic High School, played youth soccer in Ceres.

Ceres resident Harlye Holliday thought her dream of playing college soccer was unattainable after getting no responses from coaches early in her recruitment process.

Holliday’s patience and hard work ultimately paid off as she drew interest from more than 10 programs, including Cal State East Bay.

She committed to the Division-II Pioneers on Nov. 9.

“I had a lot of doubts,” she said. “I didn’t want to play soccer anymore. I started to get hope again after a few college coaches responded to me via email about how I performed and they wanted to watch a few more of my games. It definitely helped my confidence. They recognized I was playing well. That gave me motivation to keep working hard.”

Holliday attended a signing ceremony on Nov. 10 at Central Catholic High School.

Family, friends and classmates attended the event.

“It was really awesome,” said Holliday, 17. “They know how hard I’ve worked to get to this point. I’ve had to sacrifice missing a lot of important events. Even though I can’t get those moments back, it was worth it.”

The recruiting process was stressful.

Coaches finally responded to Holliday’s inquiries about their programs after she performed well at the Davis NPL Showcase during her junior year.

She drew interest from Cal State East Bay, Cal State San Marcos, Humboldt State, Cal Poly Pomona, University of San Francisco and University of Rochester.

“I was talking to 10-12 schools,” she said. “It was a big turning point for me. It definitely made me feel special.”

Holliday toured the Cal State East Bay campus, which is located Hayward, during the summertime.

“I really liked the environment,” she said. “I got to meet all the players. There was a togetherness not a lot of people can find in a college team. That’s something that is really important to me. My soccer family is my second family because I spend so much time with them.”

Holliday welcomes the challenge of playing a different position at the college level.

She’ll contribute at fullback.

The Pioneers compiled a 2-12-3 overall record and finished last in the CCAA standings (0-10-1) this past season.

“The coaches told me they have high hopes for me. I consider myself to be a selfless player. I’m always looking for opportunities for my team."
Harlye Holliday

“I have no problem playing defense,” said Holliday, a midfielder/winger. “The coaches told me they have high hopes for me. I consider myself to be a selfless player. I’m always looking for opportunities for my team. As long as I’m putting in the work and play at the level I need to be playing at, that will determine how much playing time I’ll get.”

A senior at Central Catholic, Holliday has been a member of the school’s varsity girls soccer team since freshman year.

She earned Valley Oak League honorable-mention recognition in the ninth grade.

She was named Central Catholic’s We Award winner sophomore year. The award recognizes the all-round success of a student-athlete.

Holliday currently ranks first on her team in goals and assists.

Holliday started playing soccer at the age of 4 with the Ceres Youth Soccer Organization.

She began her competitive career with the Ceres Earthquakes when she was 8. 

She suited up for the Modesto Ajax from ages 10-14.

Holliday joined the Troy Dayak-led West Coast Soccer Club three years ago.

Dayak, who played professionally for the San Jose Earthquakes, has been instrumental in preparing Holliday for the college level.

“Troy helped develop my soccer IQ,” she said. “I really like his coaching style. He always encourages his players to do more. My teammates have also helped me improve.”

Parents Ryan and Janell have been two of Harlye’s biggest supporters, along with her nine-year-old brother Rogen.

“Without them, I don’t think I’d be where I am right now,” she said. “They’ve done a lot for me. They’ve always been there to help me. They’ve sacrificed a lot. My dad was my biggest role model. He taught me about soccer. He was my coach. He got me into watching Premier (League) soccer.”

Holliday plans to major in psychology or sports psychology at Cal State East Bay.

She wants to become a therapist for teens or college athletes.

“I want to help those that need an outlet when they’re super stressed with school and sports,” said Holliday, who has a weighted grade-point average of 4.0 at Central Catholic. 

“There is so much hard work and sacrifice student athletes have to put in to be able to play at the next level,” Janell Holliday said. “Harlye is an amazing young woman, and her dad and I are so very proud. She is a wonderful representation for our Ceres community and for young girls chasing big dreams.”

“I’ve always wanted to play soccer at a high level ever since I was younger,” Harlye Holliday said. “I realized it could happen when I started getting feedback from college coaches. I’m really excited about where I’m going next year. I found the right fit for me. I chose a place that wants me but it’s also a place I want. They want their players to succeed. They’re really adamant in putting school first.”

Harlye Holliday soccer
Harlye Holliday has been playing soccer for the past 13 years.