NSU Soccer: Toughness the theme for Northwestern State’s five-player signing class

Northwestern State co-head soccer coach Jess Jobe said a common theme surfaced in the five recruits the Lady Demons signed Wednesday to kick off the fall signing period.

Toughness.

“Every one of these kids, if they got knocked down, they got right back up, and that’s part of the identity we want to have at NSU,” said Jobe, who inked his third full recruiting class along with co-head coach Anna Jobe. “We want players that opponents aren’t comfortable playing.

“When we get knocked down or have our backs against the wall, we’re ready to keep going at it and take the challenge head on.”

All five signees hail from the fertile recruiting grounds of the Dallas Metroplex with forwards Angel Garfias (Waxahachie) and Sara Fernandez (Van Alstyne), midfielders Faith Adams (Maypearl) and Emily Mougia (Sachse) and defender Caroline Hilliard (Corinth).

In just three seasons, Angel Garfias is in the top three in Waxahachie High School history with 58 goals and 45 assists.

Garfias earned player of the honors in Ellis County as a junior.

“Angel is really good with her back to the goal, and she can do a lot of different things,” Jobe said. “She likes the ball at her feet, and we can build up through her because she can possess the ball deep in the attacking third.

“That’s important in our system, and Angel likes to be around the box and can create for herself and teammates.”

Fellow forward Sara Fernandez spent the final two of her 12 club seasons playing for the Sting while showing her athleticism in other sports at Van Alstyne High School.

Fernandez was named Texomaland Athlete of the Year for her accomplishments in cross country, track and basketball.

“Sara is a track star, runs the 400 meters and can break the line for us and get behind the defense,” Jobe said. “She’s got a great engine and motor, and she can play in space.

“We love multi-sport athletes. It’s a good indication that you’ve been in multiple situations to solve tactical issues in different sports. There are technical aspects and other skills that cross over.”

Holding midfielder Faith Adams checks the multi-sport box as well after excelling at four sports (cross country, basketball and track) while playing soccer for the Sting Dallas Royal club.

“As a midfielder, Faith can go both ways in adding to our attack as well as being a solid defender,” Jobe said. “She might play back line at some point in her career.

“Multi-sport athletes have paid off for us in a lot of different ways, and Anna and I were multi-sport athletes ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with players who don’t play multiple sports, but it’s a fun question for us to ask.”

Midfielder Emily Mougia earned first-team all-district status as a captain of a Sachse High team that posted an 18-5-2 record.

Mougia played for Mutiny FC and Solar SC in the club arena.

“Emily might be undersized (5-foot-3) at defensive mid, but she’s comfortable playing there,” Jobe said. “She challenges kids that have 10 inches on her, and she’s not afraid.

“She gets stuck in to tackles, is creative and technical and has that mentality to work hard and not back down even if she’s at a physical disadvantage.”

Defender Caroline Hilliard was a two-year captain at Marcus High, culminating in a first-team all-district selection as a junior.

Hilliard was part of a state runner-up team as a freshman.

“Hilliard is a wrecking ball, and she’s one of those players opponents don’t want to play against,” Jobe said. “She’s scrappy, feisty, fights for every loose ball and has a great intensity about her.

“She’s the type of player we want as that last player between the ball and our goal.”

This incoming class will be eligible to play in the 2021 fall season as the Lady Demons will take to the field this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSU will play a full Southland Conference schedule starting Feb. 12 with the possibility of a few nonconference games in the previous weeks.

CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services