Back in the beginning of March, California State University, Bakersfield women’s soccer coach Gary Curneen had a surprise need in his defensive backfield after one of his 2016 recruits dropped their commitment, leaving the Roadrunners empty-handed.
So when Curneen was left needing a talented fullback to plug into the empty spot on his back line, the fourth-year Roadrunner coach found his answer with former Sumner High fullback Kinsey Saiz.
“Ever since I was playing soccer as a littler girl, it was about playing Division-I soccer. Now I can actually say that I am living that dream,” Saiz said.
She’s living the dream now that she’s a part of CSU Bakersfield women’s soccer team in the Western Athletic Conference.
Back then, it looked a lot different for the former Spartan. March was a tough month for Saiz. Without an offer and her time running out as the last signing day of the 2016 school year rapidly approached, there was nothing coming in about the 5-foot-11 fullback. It was too quiet for Saiz.
Entering March, since I didn’t have any offers, I was going to have to go to Pierce College to continue playing — maybe start thinking beyond soccer and more about my career. Either going there or head to Linfield (University) in Oregon. Not that either was a bad choice, it just wasn’t what I dreamed about growing up.
“Entering March, since I didn’t have any offers, I was going to have to go to Pierce College to continue playing — maybe start thinking beyond soccer and more about my career,” Saiz admitted. “Either going there or head to Linfield (University) in Oregon. Not that either was a bad choice, it just wasn’t what I dreamed about growing up.”
Sometimes Plan B feels more like Plan Z, that last-ditch effort in trying to keep a small bit of hope alive where playing in college is possible.
Saiz was at that moment in her playing career. Was she just to go into college only to obtain her degree in kinesiology or could there be something more?
For Sumner High girls coach Robi Turley, the answer was yes, there was a home for Saiz at the college’s top level.
“She’s been terrific for us for years, so I tried to make some calls to see if there was someone who could be interested in her,” Turley said. “When I heard about CSU Bakersfield needing a defender, I was like, ‘I have a fullback. You should look at her.’”
The Roadrunners took Turley up on her offer, and came out to see Saiz when she headed to California for a tournament with the Washington Premier FC girls soccer team.
Ever since I was playing soccer as a littler girl, it was about playing Division-I soccer. Now I can actually say that I am living that dream.
Within minutes of watching Saiz play, CSU Bakersfield knew it had found its player.
“When I went out for my visit to see what they campus and area was like, they basically knew they were going to offer me a scholarship, and they did,” Saiz said. “I accepted pretty quickly.”
It was a dream come true for Saiz when she signed her offer, marking the fourth consecutive year that the Sumner girls soccer program has produced a Division-I talent.
“Now I can say that I achieved my dream. It’s a great feeling,” Saiz said.
Last week, CSU Bakersfield lost its opening game to Saint Mary’s (Calif.), 1-0 in OT, without Saiz making an appearance.
But it’s only a matter of time she makes her mark for the Roadrunners.