Yasmidt Mendoza and Tatiana Carrillo Suarez, Cloud County teammates and Colombia natives, sign with Goshen College
When it came to choosing the next stop in their academic and athletic careers, who they played with was just as important as where they played for Cloud County Community College sophomores, Yasmidt Mendoza and Tatiana Carrillo Suarez.
The two Colombians came to Concordia as part of the same freshman class that finished 30-7-1 the last two years after the program was reinstated prior to the 2017 season. And the duo will also leave Concordia together after they each signed their national letters of intent on Tuesday with Goshen College, an NAIA institution based out of Goshen, Indiana.
"They each had a lot of offers, but this was the place that gave the best offer for both of them," said Cloud County head coach, Charles Long. "They're both outstanding players at different positions. Tatiana has been an ambassador here and 'Yaz' has been fantastic, studying two different majors. They're fantastic players and people who will help that Goshen program."
Mendoza, a wind energy technology student while at Cloud County, started in 30 of the 38 games she played in during her career as a Thunderbird, scoring six goals and finishing with 18 career points.
She plans on majoring in environmental studies or physics at Goshen College, where she is also expected to challenge for playing time at the center back and right back positions.
Mendoza said she is confident in the direction the Maple Leafs' program is heading under new head coach Justin Crew, and that her time at Cloud County has prepared her for the next level.
"I think we have a really, really good program here at Cloud County and a really good base to go contribute to another team," Mendoza said. "We gained a lot of knowledge here and we've gone to the national tournament. We're moving up from a really good program."
Suarez also proved to be a weapon during her two years in Concordia, as she scored four goals and tallied four career assists in 26 games played.
"Tatiana is an outstanding outside midfielder, does her job, defends, and has some nice moves when she attacks," Long said. "It was unfortunate for her that she was playing behind our team captains 'JuJu' (Joana Villanova) and Gabriela de Jesus. Had she not been playing behind two marquee-type players, she'd have gotten a lot more playing time. But she is certainly a very solid player and she'll be a starter for Goshen."
Suarez said she plans on majoring in journalism with a minor in political science at Goshen College. The native of Medllin, Colombia, said the transition to the four-year level is exciting, especially getting to do so with a fellow countrywoman in Mendoza, who is originally from Bogota, Colombia.
"When I came here as a freshman, I didn't know anyone. But I got to know Yasmidt and we became very good friends," Suarez said. "It is always hard to start over somewhere new, but it's easier when you have someone there with you."