Born and raised in Ukiah, California, Lauren Moses graduated from Ukiah High in 2008. To further her education, and "play soccer, of course," she spent the next two years at Mendocino College (Mendo). "If it wasn't for Mendo, I would not be where I am today. Although I played for Ukiah High, we never really got recognized there. Mendo definitely kick started my soccer career," she says. It was through playing against larger community colleges that Lauren felt her skills were finally noticed. "Plus, I was also able to finish my A.A. degree in the two years that I attended."
Lauren won the "1st Team All-Conference" award for both of her years at Mendo (2008-2009) as well as "Defender of the Year" in 2009. She gives special thanks to soccer coach Duncan McMartin and assistant coach Naomi Rhodes, who not only helped "further my soccer career, but also my education." Lauren also remembers Salvador Rice (Sal), her conditioning coach: "If it wasn't for Sal, I definitely would have had a very hard time being able to play the full 90 minutes on the field." Shane Huff, the current coach at Mendo, also played a huge role in helping Lauren by "motivating me to keep playing soccer. He made me realize that I had what it takes to play at the next level, and wanted to help me make that happen in any way he could."
Lauren also credits her supportive family: "My mom and dad both have watched me play soccer since I was five, and have been there to cheer me on from the sidelines all the way through college … I am so thankful for both of them in supporting me one-hundred percent and wanting nothing more than for me to live my dream, which was having the chance to play at the next level."
That chance came during her last year at Mendo in 2009. She played the sophomore showcase, where she received several scholarship offers, including Lyon College in Arkansas. For a variety of reasons (and with deep regret) she turned the offer down. Even though she took a year off, in 2010 she was lucky enough to get the same offer again from Lyon College! However, at the last minute, things fell through again. Lauren was going through difficult times, including having her Grandmother pass away, and she remembers "I basically just gave up."
Lauren didn't give up for long however. She realized how much she regretted turning down the offers, and knew "if I didn't try one last time, it would be something I would regret the rest of my life." Looking back, she now realizes "I was afraid of leaving my comfort zone … I think that was partially the reason I turned down my previous offers. Another big issue for me was sometimes I would think I wasn't good enough to play at the next level, or I would be intimidated just thinking about it."
Lauren wrestled with her fear until "finally something clicked in my head, and I knew this was my last chance." She then took the necessary steps, and with a lot of help from Shane, contacted Hope International University (HIU). They took a look at her awards, talked to her coaches, and watched one of her games on DVD. She was offered a scholarship to play Center Defender, the position she loves.
Having this opportunity to play at the next level is a huge motivator for Lauren. "I knew I was capable before, but now that I am officially going to play, that is the only motivation I need. I want to be the best player I can possibly be, and be the best physically conditioned that I've ever been."
Confidence is something Lauren worked hard at and finally achieved. "I now know I am able to compete at that level, and that it just takes dedication and hard work to get there. I also know it's time for me to move on and further my education out of Ukiah … time to experience new things."
Lauren is proud of coming to this realization and now she can say "I finally did it! I achieved one of the biggest goals in my life, and I worked very hard to do it." Lauren's advice to others with big dreams is: "Let your passion motivate you, and remain dedicated. You have to really want something and apply yourself in order to get it." Soccer is Lauren's number one passion, and "to think that I get to play for another two years at the most competitive level I have ever played at is such a dream come true for me."
Lauren's dreams don't stop there. She hopes to graduate in 2014 with a B.A. in Kinesiology. She then hopes to get into a RN program, to accomplish another dream of becoming a registered nurse.
In the meantime, what's ahead for Lauren the next few months is "training, training, and more training!" The workout program from her new coach at HIU is tough, and she'll be evaluated on August 7, 2012, to see what her fitness level is. "If I pass all the tests, it will make pre-season training a hundred times easier! It will be the hardest I've ever trained in my life, but I know it will all pay off in the end." Mendocino College wishes Lauren the best of luck—this summer, and for the rest of her life.
Lauren Moses, Mendocino College Success Story
Date of interview: June 5, 2012
Written by Christine Mullis