Aggie Soccer Inks Seven For 2016

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State head women’s soccer coach Freddy Delgado inked seven players to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday. The signing comes on the heels of Delgado leading the Aggies to their best finish in conference play since 2009.

“We are excited about the 2016 class,” Delgado said. “Since we brought in a large group of freshmen last year, this year’s class focused on filling specific key positions. This group continues the long history of committing excellent soccer players, exceptional students and great examples in their community.”

Of the seven, five hail from the Land of Enchantment while the sixth and seventh signees come from California and Nevada. Of the five future Aggies from New Mexico, Jessica McDow, Valerie Maestas and Kelly Burton come from Albuquerque while Kyleigh Cox and Cristina Bertoldo are home-grown products of Las Cruces. Danielle Smith joins the Aggies from Paso Robles, Calif., while Alyssa Mireles comes from Las Vegas, Nev.

Cristina Bertoldo | Las Cruces, N.M. 5-9 | Defender | Chandler Gilbert CC

Bertoldo comes to NM State after honing her skills the last two years at Chandler Gilbert Community College, where she was an All-American center back. In her first season at CGCC, Bertoldo started all 21 matches for the Coyotes and recorded seven points, all on assists. Bertoldo returned with a breakout sophomore campaign, dishing out a region-best 14 assists to go with two goals while starting all 22 games. She was recognized by the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference for her performance, earning all-region honors and was selected to play in the conference all-star game as well. A four-year letter winner at Las Cruces High School, Bertoldo earned first-team all-district honors three-straight years.

“Cristina is a defender who brings talent and experience,” Delgado said. “She was a team captain for the 2015 season at Chandler Gilbert Community College. That showed us, she has the maturity and confidence to lead a young team. She is a 2015 All-American, so you know she is playing at an elite level. And, being a Las Cruces native, we expect her to bring a little extra fire while playing in her hometown in front of family and friends.”

Kelly Burton | Albuquerque, N.M. | 5-2 | Defender | Eldorado High School

Burton will come to NM State with tons of experience on the defensive end after earning mountains of accolades that include: first-team, all-state, all-district and all-metro honors. She also helped lead Eldorado High School to a state championship as a sophomore. The Albuquerque product was also on the team that brought home three-straight New Mexico State Cup championships (2012-14). The Albuquerque Journal tabbed Burton as one of 10 metro players to watch her senior year. Burton is not only a standout soccer player; she excels in the classroom as well, earning academic letters all four years at EHS with a 4.0-plus grade point average.

“Kelly is a strong, physical defender,” said Delgado. “She is a relentless player with speed and power. She’s also very good with her 1v1 defending. On the attack, Kelly provides great service from the left side. She is going to cause problems for the opposing teams because she has the speed and athleticism to play box-to-box.”

Kyleigh Cox | Las Cruces, N.M. | 5-3 | Forward | Mayfield High School

One of two Las Cruces natives in this year’s signing class. Cox joins the Aggies after playing four seasons at Mayfield High School where she led the Trojans to a second-place finish in the district. She led the team with 14 points as a senior with five goals and four assists. The forward was named first-team all-district as a senior and earned second-team honors during her junior campaign. On top of soccer, Cox also lettered all four years in track & field. She is also an all-star in the classroom, earning all-academic accolades with a 4.0 grade point average. Both of her parents are New Mexico State grads while her father, Brian, played football for the Aggies during his time here.

“Kyleigh is one of the most athletic players graduating from the Las Cruces area,” Delgado said. “She is quick, fast and aggressive. She will learn quickly while playing against better, faster competition. She has a great attitude and an excellent work ethic. We expect her to improve throughout the year and be a contributor for us, especially late in the season.”

Valerie Maestas | Albuquerque, N.M. | 5-4 | Forward | Eldorado High School

Maestas will have a familiar face when she joins the Aggies this fall with Burton, who was a teammate at Eldorado High School. Maestas commanded the offense while Burton captained the defense for EHS. A three-year letter winner for the Eagles, Maestas was a part of the 2013 team that went 20-1 to win the state championship. As a freshman that year, she earned second-team all-district honors and all-state honorable mention distinctions after knocking in 10 goals and five assists. Her next three years, Maestas only continued to blossom, earning first-team all-district, all-metro and all-state honors. She was named district player of the year as a senior, after firing off 14 goals and 14 assists to lead the Eagles to a state runner-up finish. Like the rest of players in her signing class, Maestas has a stout record in the classroom as well, earning academic all-district honors multiple times.

“Valerie is one of the most dangerous attackers in the state of New Mexico,” said Delgado. “She is crafty, athletic and has a cutthroat goal scoring mentality. She puts pressure on defenders by continuously running at them. Sometimes she is successful the first time, sometimes it takes three or four runs. But, eventually, she is going to force the defender to make a bad decision, beat them and will capitalize with a goal.”

Jessica McDow | Albuquerque, N.M. | 5-9 | Midfielder | La Cueva High School

McDow will join the Aggies as one of three signees from the Albuquerque area. The midfielder led La Cueva High School to a pair of first-place finishes in league. During her four years, McDow led the Bears to a combined record of 65-16-1. She continued to excel as the years went on, earning first-team all-district and all-state honors her junior and senior year. On top of that, McDow was named her district player of the year after her senior campaign to go with her first-team all-metro recognition.

“Jessica will be a dominant force in the midfield,” Delgado said. “She has all the physical tools: size, speed and strength, but she is also a very technical, crafty and exciting player. She can play physically if necessary, but will also beat you with skill. I believe she is the best midfielder coming out of New Mexico in the 2016 class.”

Alyssa Mireles | Las Vegas, Nev. | 5-5 | Defender | Las Vegas High School

Mireles comes to NM State with tons of accolades during her prep career. One of Las Vegas High School’s top defenders, Mireles garnered All-Southern Nevada honors all four years to go with her All-Sunrise Region awards as a junior and senior. She was tabbed the league’s defensive player of the year as a junior and then tabbed the team’s most valuable player as a senior. The 5-5 defender also played in the senior all-star game after tallying 14 goals and six assists during her campaign at LVHS. She led the Wildcats to the state playoffs all four years.

“Alyssa is a strong, physical and athletic player,” Delgado said. “She is very good at defending one-on-one and has an excellent ability to win air balls. She can strike a great long ball, making her dangerous on set pieces. With some fine tuning and experience, she has all the tools to be a top defender in the conference.”

Danielle Smith | Paso Robles, Calif. | 5-8 | Defender / Forward | Feather River College

Like Bertoldo, Smith joins NM State having played her last two years at a junior college – Feather River College in central California. The 5-8 forward flourished her second year and led the Golden Eagles with 31 points (9g, 13a). Her nine goals and 13 assists is best in both categories amongst her teammates. In her last year at Feather River, Smith guided the team to an 11-6-1 mark and second-place finish in the Golden Valley Conference. Smith played her prep career at Santa Barbara Senior High School. Smith has some athletic genes in her system as her father played football at Oklahoma State.

“Danielle Smith is an excellent athlete with a smart soccer mind,” Delgado said. “She is a strong, lean, aggressive competitor who plays with a great work ethic. She possesses great skill at both the outside back and forward positions. Her junior college experience at Feather River will provide the toughness and leadership needed to grind out the wins in a competitive Western Athletic Conference.”

The seven signees will join a much more experienced team in 2016 after carrying 16 freshmen on the roster last season.

“This group is exactly what we needed for the 2016 class,” Delgado said of his signees. “We are proud we once again capitalized on the best talent in Las Cruces and New Mexico. We’ve added key pieces that will help us continue our momentum. And, we’ve added student athletes our community will be proud to support.”