Ruelas scores a spot at Davis

Success with local soccer club, not DBHS team, earns senior scholarship to UC Davis.

Though she hasn’t played soccer for Diamond Bar High School since she was a freshman, senior Samantha Ruelas is heading to UC Davis on a soccer scholarship after shining as a club player.

Ruelas will start playing for UC Davis in July when she enters their summer camp after receiving the scholarship.  She  admits that she has felt disconnected from her childhood soccer friends because she hasn’t played for DBHS since her freshman year on the varsity team after leaving to play for a club team.

“It wasn’t my choice and I really wanted to play [at DBHS] but I play for a club team called Legends Development Academy,” Ruelas said. “When you have the title ‘academy’ you can’t play for any high school sports just because you signed a contract saying that you belong to the club so I wish I could play for high school but I can’t.”

Before she committed to UC Davis, Ruelas played soccer for ten years and also competed in various tournaments to build connections with college coaches.

In addition, she had also made it into Developmental Academy, the highest level below the national team status, in her club team which is currently ranked fourth in the nation.

“When you’re getting into high school and you go to these national tournaments there’s these coaches there, so you do your best to play well while you’re out there,” Ruelas said. “Then they may ask you questions and send you emails so when you really have an interest in a school you email them and try to get on their radar to see if they want to commit you.”

Soccer wasn’t her first sport; at the age of six, she played softball until she found her place on the soccer field when she was eight and will be playing it for another four years after graduating high school this spring.

“I really liked sports but I didn’t like softball, so I chose another one and all my friends at school were doing [soccer] so I decided to play too,” Ruelas said.

While she’s still proud of being admitted for UC Davis after verbally committing in her sophomore year, Ruelas was also interested in a few other schools because of what they had to offer in terms of prestige and opportunity.

“I think everyone’s dream is to go to UCLA but to me it’s more of which [college] is best academically and best sports-wise so I think just finding a good balance was my main goal,” Ruelas said. “If I had to choose I think I’d play for Arizona State or Pepperdine.”

Besides committing to the school for soccer, Ruelas also applied to UC Davis with other goals in mind. The senior aims to become a physician assistant and chose UC Davis in order to make her way towards her dream career in her future after college.

“UC Davis has a really good medical program so I chose it not just because it was a good school like [Division I] for soccer but it’s also a really good academic school,” Ruelas said. “Once I’m done with college, I’m planning on just ending [soccer] from there because I kind of want to have a normal job.”