Originally published Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 03:54a.m.

KINGMAN – When Sadie Serrano first met Lee Williams High School girls soccer coach Chris Selby, she didn’t hesitate to talk about the goal of playing at the next level.

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Sadie Serrano, a senior captain for the Lee Williams High School girls soccer team, signed to play for Mesa Community College on Monday. (Daily Miner file photo)

That dream became a reality Monday afternoon as the Lady Vols senior signed to play soccer for Mesa Community College.

“I wouldn’t be in college soccer if it wasn’t for him, that’s for sure,” Serrano said of Selby. “He’s helped unleash my potential by 100 times. I’ve learned to be a real captain and a team player. Before he came around, it was ‘Put the ball up and have Sadie run it down.’ It’s changed within the last two years to us being a team, passing and making playoffs this year. That was all with coach Selby.”

And that help has sent her on a journey that will go down in school history. Serrano is the first Lady Vol to sign a letter of intent for collegiate soccer and Selby couldn’t be prouder.

“It means a lot,” he said. “She had the talent already, I just had to help her use it. I’m super excited for her. It’s a good opportunity. It’s a good coach she’s going to be playing for. I couldn’t imagine her in a better place.”

Serrano also sees it as the perfect fit for her, even after considering schools back home in Minnesota. But ultimately she decided to choose somewhere closer to family and friends, and a school where she can finish her RN degree while playing for the Lady T-birds.

However, her soccer career may end once those two years are up as Serrano doesn’t see herself playing at a four-year college.

“For me, soccer is a passion,” Serrano said. “When you get too serious about it, they take the fun out of it, they take the passion and the love out of it. It’s more of a competition between critical plays and a whole bunch of stuff. It’s not my thing. I’ve played at that level before and it’s not fun for me.”

Only time will tell where Serrano ends up, but she is trying to expand on her career with some time in another sport.

“I’m actually planning on track and field down there too,” Serrano said. “I’ve talked to my soccer coach about it. And he’s talking to the track coach about it.”

It’s never easy to be a two-sport athlete, but Selby knows the sky is the limit when it comes to Serrano’s talent. That was evident this season as Serrano finished with 15 goals, 10 assists and 170 steals.

“She definitely became more of a passer than she has in the past,” Selby said. “We weren’t always relying on her to carry us. We didn’t need to and it’s because they play so well together as a team. Her growth has been tremendous and she’s ready for college.”

And Serrano’s new coach, Drew Guarneri, also feels the same way after the trio met at a soccer camp in Show Low.

“(Guarneri) got to see her firsthand and he liked the way she played and her attitude,” Selby said. “He's excited to have her on the team.”