Two Laramie County Community College women soccer players decided to further their careers by signing to play at four-year universities next season.
Katie Loken and Taylor Stoeger signed their letters of intent on Feb. 20.
Sophomore forward Stoeger (Green River, Wyo.) signed with Division I University of Montana, in Missoula, Montana. The standout was someone that would shine on the stat sheet every game. Stoeger started in all of LCCC’s 19 games this season and earned Region IX First-Team honors. She was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-American second team, which only 22 women in the nation make, as well as the Academic All-American Team. Stoeger scored 11 goals and had 10 assists this past season for the Golden Eagles.
According to Stoeger, Missoula felt like home and was somewhere she wanted to continue her soccer career. She went on to add that she is familiar with the area because of family that lives there.
Even though she has the familiarity with the area, Stoeger noted that it will be a different aspect of her soccer career, going from NJCAA to the NCAA.
“It’s going to be different, it’s going to be a higher level, and excited to challenging myself,” Stoeger said.
According to Stoeger, the things she will miss about LCCC and its coaches is the community, the people, and coach Jim Gardner.
“(Gardner) cares so much for me as a player and as a person and definitely made me better,” Stoeger said.
Montana went 7-9-6 in the 2018 season, losing to Washington State 1-5 in the NCAA Division I Women’s tournament.
Like Stoeger, Loken felt a familiarity with the program and school at D II Texas A&M-Commerce.
“The coach is like Gardner, he’s loud, he’s a yeller, and I respond to a coach well like that… I felt like I knew him,” Loken said.
Gardner coached Loken all four years of her high school career at East High School, then the past two at LCCC.
Loken was also named to the United Soccer Coaches All-American team. Loken also earned the honors of being named to the NJCAA All-American team, and was named Region IX Player of the Year. Loken played both sides of the ball for LCCC as an offensive and defensive threat. Loken scored twice and added three assists this past season. On the defensive side, she held opponents to three goals in 11 games and 10 shutouts.
According to Loken, she first received interest from the Lions when they sent an email to her while at the National Tournament. Loken also went on to say that she will be going there on a full scholarship.
Texas A&M-Commerce finished the 2018 season 9-8 and lost 2-0 to Eastern New Mexico in the Lone Star Conference Championship quarterfinal.