As high school seniors everywhere anxiously await college acceptance letters, there’s a freshman at Mountain View High who has already determined her destination. Soccer standout Allie Montoya verbally committed to Stanford University Jan. 23.
“It’s kind of a relief,” the 15-year-old said. “I’m super excited.”
Her parents are thrilled as well.
“We are extremely proud of her hard work and commitment to both soccer and school,” said Erin Montoya, who, like husband Albertin, played college and pro soccer. “We are thrilled she has chosen a school that will continue to challenge her both on and off the field.”
Along with ranking among the top academic institutions in the country, Stanford has one of the best women’s soccer programs. The Cardinal reached the national championship game the past two seasons, winning the title in 2017.
“Knowing the Stanford program well, I know how difficult it is to play there,” said Ivan Bandov, Montoya’s coach at Mountain View High. “Now, to verbally commit in the middle of your freshman year is rare and special. For me, what’s most exciting is she has three more years before she attends Stanford. She’s only going to keep improving as a player, and I have no doubt she’ll make a great impact at Stanford when that time comes.”
Although it’s not a done deal – verbal commitments aren’t binding and Montoya can’t sign a National Letter of Intent until senior year – she and her family have received assurances that the offer stands as long as she holds up her end of it.
“If I get good grades and continue to work hard and get better, there’s a chance I could sign later,” said Montoya, who played on the U.S. Under-15 Girls National Team last summer.
But before she puts pen to paper, “no one from Stanford is permitted to comment,” according to Nick Sako, an assistant director of communications in the university’s athletic department.
Montoya said that since she was 12, Stanford “has always been one of my top schools.”
That’s around the age she began drawing interest from college coaches scouting the Elite Club National League that Montoya plays in with Barcelona of the Mountain View Los Altos Soccer Club.
“ECNL has been an amazing platform for our student athletes to be seen by colleges,” said Erin, who coaches Barcelona. “We have coaches who attend league games, some come out to practices and the biggest stage is our ECNL showcases, which are amazing. Great competition, amazing facilities and a platform which draws a ton of college coaches to come watch our players.”
Although rules prohibit college coaches from recruiting athletes prior to their junior year of high school, they may contact their club and high school coaches to indicate their interest. The athlete is then free to contact the college coach and build a relationship.
Montoya has a long-standing relationship with Margueritte Aozasa, an assistant to Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe. A former standout player at Los Altos High and Santa Clara University, Aozasa has worked as an MVLA coach with Montoya’s parents.
“She’s a family friend,” Montoya said. “I’ve known her since I was 1.”
While she’s elated about the possibility of joining Aozasa at Stanford, Montoya said there was a downside to making her decision.
“I had to email the other colleges I was looking at – that was really the hard part,” said the Los Altos resident, who was also considering Santa Clara University (her parents’ alma mater) and UCLA. “I was so close to the coaches; it was sad.”
A few days after committing, Montoya announced it to friends via social media and visited the campus bookstore to buy some Stanford swag. She can always go back for more – that’s the luxury of choosing a school less than 10 miles from home.
“My parents are super excited about that,” Montoya said. “I wanted to be somewhere close to home where my family could come see me and I could come back home a lot.”
For now, they can watch her play even closer at Mountain View High. The striker leads the undefeated Spartans in goals and assists.
“One of the most impressive parts of her game for me is her understanding of space and how to get into different pockets on the field to exploit the opponent,” Bandov said. “She’s brilliant at reading the game and understanding what type of movements need to occur before getting on the ball. Having this intelligence level on the field as a freshmen is very rare. That combined with her supreme technical ability and mindset make her a top-level player.”
Her work ethic and humility don’t hurt, either, according to the coach.
“Allie is clearly a very talented player who has put in hundreds of hours of work to improve her craft,” Bandov said. “Beyond the player, she’s a terrific girl; hardworking, humble and is a joy to be around.”