By Mike Corpos | DAILY REPUBLIC | December 23, 2009 23:40
ROCKVILLE – It’s only fitting that the Solano Community College soccer team’s best season yet concludes with one of its biggest honors ever.
Brittney Cooper, the Falcons striker in large part responsible for the team’s No. 9 national ranking and strong playoff run, was named a first-team All-America selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
It’s just the third time a player from the Rockville campus has been accorded the honor. Forward Katie Knopp was a second-team selection after the 2008 season and current Solano assistant coach Andrea Salvador was a first-team selection and National Player of the Year in 2005.
Cooper, who was also named Bay Valley Conference MVP, finished her sophomore year — she spent her freshman season at American River College in Sacramento — with 20 goals and nine assists for 49 points, good for 11th in the state.
But, Falcons coach Jeff Cardinal said, her numbers could have been even better.
‘She sat out some games this year, and she was playing with a bad ankle, which happened about halfway through the season,’ Cardinal said. ‘With her being healthier I think she would have scored a lot more than she did.’
Cardinal also called Cooper, a Fairfield High graduate, a dangerous player who can threaten any team she faces.
‘She’s a true striker, a goal scorer,’ he said. ‘Not everybody can put the ball in the back of the net, and she finds a way to score, not only for herself but also for her teammates.’
The nine assists show that she’s also willing to spread the ball around and it demonstrates Cooper’s ability to recognize chances for her teammates as well, Cardinal said.
Cooper said she was glad her work through the season paid off, even if the season ended before she wanted it to — in a 5-2 third-round playoff loss to eventual state runner-up Cosumnes River College.
‘It feels good, I worked really hard for it,’ Cooper said. ‘All I can say is that I did all I could through the season being injured.’
But being one of the top 11 junior college players in the country came as a surprise to Cooper.
‘It’s unexpected. I had no idea,’ she said. ‘I think of myself as a good player, but I had no idea. Top 11, that’s big. It means a lot.’
Cardinal said the honor reflects not only the season Cooper had, but the team’s success as well.
That was reflected in the fact that along with Cooper, teammates Anna Nisperos (20 goals and eight assists) and team captain Jessica Hamister, a defender, were All-Western Region selections.
That group led the Falcons through an undefeated Bay Valley Conference schedule and into the third round of the playoffs for the first time ever. Solano finished the season ranked ninth in the country among junior college teams, and ended the regular season as the No. 1 team in Northern California, and No. 2 in the state.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solano College Soccer