Soccer

Coachella Valley football, soccer seniors headed to next level

Some people argue they do their best thinking in the shower. Add former Coachella Valley and future Redlands offensive lineman Nick Hernandez to that list.

Coachella Valley seniors Wilfredo Ortiz and Nick Hernandez smile before their signed their national letters of intent on Friday.

Coachella Valley seniors Wilfredo Ortiz and Nick Hernandez smile before their signed their national letters of intent on Friday.

On the day before Hernandez had to narrow down his seven college football offers to just one, Hernandez said he was in the shower when an epiphany just came to him.

“I just all the sudden said to myself ‘Oh, I think I made my choice’,” he said. “I felt like, in the end, Redlands was the best fit for me because of both their academics and their athletic program.”

The future Bulldog sat in the Coachella Valley High School gym Friday with his parents, friends and coaches for a national signing day event alongside the school’s soccer star,  Wilfredo Ortiz. A senior forward, Ortiz announced his plan to attend La Sierra University, an NAIA school in the California Pacific Conference. Ortiz led Coachella Valley in goals with six this season and also recorded seven assists.

Hernandez had three hats sitting in front of him, but he actually picked up seven offers, most of which came after the much-hyped National Signing Day on Feb. 1. The second week of February, the two-time all-Desert Sun first team member attended the California Showcase, a free one-day combine put on by former UCLA football coach Terry Donahue. The combine allows senior football players across California still looking for a scholarship to perform in front of Division 2, Division 3 and NAIA coaches to get last-minute exposure.

After the lineman put on a show, he said coaches started contacting him, but the school who he’d been in touch with since his sophomore year still stood out. The Bulldog coaches’ dedication to the player who only started playing football his freshman year of high school was really important to Hernandez, along with an opportunity to pursue his pre-med dreams in the classroom.

Coachella Valley seniors Wilfredo Ortiz and Nick Hernandez stand together with their team hats after signing their national letters of intent on Friday.

Coachella Valley seniors Wilfredo Ortiz and Nick Hernandez stand together with their team hats after signing their national letters of intent on Friday.

Coachella Valley senior offensive lineman Nick Hernandez celebrates during his national letter of intent signing ceremony.

Coachella Valley senior offensive lineman Nick Hernandez celebrates during his national letter of intent signing ceremony.