Assistant Managing Editor
WILBRAHAM Minnechaug Regional High School senior Lauren Yelinek will go on to play Division I soccer for Texas Tech next fall.
The center midfielder officially signed her notice of intent last Wednesday in a small press conference which included her parents, close friends, school administration and members of the press.
"I feel like I've grown so much as a person academically and athletically," Yelinek said. As far as her move from Wilbraham to Lubbock, Texas, Yelinek said, "I think it'll be good for me. I know I'm coming from good roots."
Yelinek is a two-time All-League, two-time All-Western Mass, two-time All-State and this year, All-New England champion. She also plays for FC Greater Boston Bolts, a premier team based out of Boston, where she is a two-time state champion, 2006 regional champion, and went to nationals and placed third in summer 2006 with the team.
She later told The Reminder that while she was fortunate to have been on the recruiting radar of many schools, "I visited Texas and fell in love with the place the school, the people, the sports, the atmosphere were all so great. I really liked a lot of the schools in New England that I had visited, but I loved Tech and would have really regretted at least not trying to take advantage of the opportunity I had to go there."
Minnechaug Athletic Director Ned Doyle said her acceptance into Texas Tech is significant of her hard work.
"It's a nice thing to happen. It's a culmination of her hard work and her mom and dad," Doyle said.
Superintendent Paul Gagliarducci said that he will keep abreast of Texas Tech news and joked, "You did sign your life away to Texas Tech. They own you now, kid."
"She's an outstanding young lady," agreed Nundi Goncalves, head coach of the girl's soccer team. "We're really proud of her. It's not very often that you get a full soccer scholarship ... She has that passion, that love for playing."
"It's tough to give one reason why I love soccer," Yelinek said. "For one thing, I've played so long that I wouldn't know what to do without it. But more so than that, I think it's a great way to meet people, make friends and have a good time. I love that I can be competitive, stay active, and work hard, all while being with really great friends and having a good time."
Yelinek has not solidified a major as of yet, but hopes to enter a service-oriented industry.
Additional reporting by Rick Sobey.