Excerpt from Daily Republic, January 14, 2011 by Mike Corpos
ROCKVILLE -By the end of today, Kirsten Jennings will be a long way from Solano Community College.
Making the journey from Rockville to Laredo, Texas, Jennings is set to join the Texas A&M International women’s soccer team after accepting a scholarship offer from the Dust Devils.
“I e-mailed them and sent them a video, and from there we worked out an opportunity for me to go down there,” said Jennings, who was turned on to A&M International by a friend.
After playing behind the Falcons’ top forwards her freshman year, Jennings made the most of the 2010 season, becoming Solano’s leading scorer with 15 goals and 13 assists for 43 points.
She was named Forward of the Year in the Bay Valley Conference, and earned All-NorCal and All-State honors as well.
“I didn’t get as much playing time last year as I wanted, so I had to work for it this year, and it paid off for sure,” she said.
After a year at Sonoma State, Jennings came to Solano to play soccer and study fire technology.
Now, after two solid seasons for the Falcons, Jennings is headed to Texas a semester early to get oriented and get a head start on preparing for the fall season with the Dust Devils.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to earn my spot,” Jennings said. “I only have two years to play, so hopefully I don’t end up sitting the bench too much.”
Solano coach Jeff Cardinal didn’t think that would be a problem for his star striker.
“She took on the role of team captain this year,” he said. “She did a real great job as team captain. She was our most vocal captain (of three). When the team needed a . . . correction, she was the one to step up and take charge.”
Those traits had several schools interested in Jennings, Cardinal said, but it was A&M International that was her top choice.
Jennings said she’ll put her fire science studies on hold for the chance to play soccer.
Instead, she’ll pursue a bachelor’s degree in communications while in Texas, with plans to return to Solano to finish firefighting school.
Jennings said she got into firefighting after a cousin went into the field.
“I did an internship and I felt like it was the right thing for me,” she said. “But being able to play two more years came up as option, so I’ll get a bachelor’s and go back and finish. . . . I have most of the classes done. I just need my academies and my EMT.”
Jennings, who is from Martinez, said she’s looking forward to some warmer weather — Laredo is on the Mexico border — after the chilly beginning to winter in the Bay Area.
“With warm weather and being able to play, I can’t complain,” she said. “California is awesome. It will be hard to leave.”
After accepting the scholarship, Jennings became the second Falcon to sign and leave for the spring semester. Teammate and fellow captain Natalie Guerrieri is headed for Biola University in Southern California this month as well.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.