California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Avery West named SCIAC Defensive Player of the Year

Photo contributed by Izzy De Souza
Regals soccer defender Avery West (pictured, center) celebrates the team’s victory against Christopher Newmark University in the Elite Eight of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Women’s Soccer National Championship in Virginia.

Regals soccer defender Avery West earned the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year award and earned a spot on the All-SCIAC First Team.

“Becoming SCIAC Defensive Player of the Year was something I have been working towards since I first began here at CLU,” West said. “This season I came in so determined. I knew what I was capable of achieving and had a new sense of confidence that stayed with me throughout the season.”

West said this accomplishment could not have been attainable without the rest of the Regals’ defensive line and the coaching staff, and “there is never a moment where I don’t feel safe and protected on the field.” 

“My teammates have played the biggest role in my growth as a player and person. They’ve taught me so much about myself and how to truly work together for a common goal,” West said. “I feel loved and encouraged to be the best version of myself on the pitch and off.” 

West said she began playing soccer about 15 years ago and said her journey playing has been a “whirlwind.” According to West, the transition from club-team soccer to collegiate soccer was difficult for her because she did not know what to expect, and playing in college was something that West said her younger self-thought would not be possible.

“I didn’t feel confident in my ability as a player, but much like my entire soccer career, I was able to break down the barrier and transform into the player I am today,” West said. 

During West’s sophomore season, she earned Second-Team All-SCIAC and All-West Region X Third Team, but she said she knew there was more work to be done. 

“I was thrilled, however, I knew I could achieve more as I hold myself to really high standards,” West said. “So, naturally coming into this season, my goals were higher. I wanted more, so I worked harder and pushed myself over the summer to come in prepared for the new season.”

According to West, she sets goals at the beginning of every season with her father Jason, and he trained her “all summer day in and day out” with the support of her family. West said she and her father also watch their favorite soccer team, Liverpool, and pay close attention to the players in her position, as it “is one of the best ways to gain new knowledge and tips.”

“Seeing them [my family] in the stands this year is something that pushed me to new heights. Without them, none of this would be attainable,” West said. 

Junior midfielder Elisa Shott said she is motivated to work harder because of the dedication and support West brings to the team.

“Her work ethic and commitment for the team does not go unnoticed, as she is our most skilled defender and forward at times,” Shott said. “The way Avery carries herself on the field and the way she holds herself to a higher standard is what shines through because of how much she cares for this team and every player on the field.” 

Shott said West is “the glue of our team” and is a role model, as she helps her teammates improve and speaks her mind if something is not right. 

“Avery will have anyone’s back and will say what needs to be said. She will do what needs to be done,” Shott said. “She is honest and if you ask her for advice, she will give you guidance and things to work on that are meant to help you be a better player and person.”

West said her summer preparations included training on the field and in the weight room. 

“To get better at anything, you must never be complacent. You must never be comfortable with where you are as there’s always room for improvement,” West said.

For the first time in program history, the Regals soccer team made the semifinals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Women’s Soccer National Championship, defeating No.1 ranked Christopher Newport University in the Elite Eight on Sunday, Nov. 19.

West and the Regals will play in the Final Four of the National Championship against Tufts University on Thursday, Nov. 30 in Virginia. 

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