West Jordan senior headed to play soccer in MaineMar 05, 2020 12:17PM ● By Greg James
West Jordan senior Shelby Baker has committed to play soccer at Central Maine Community College. (photo courtesy of Shelby Baker)
By Greg James | [email protected]
A West Jordan High senior is making a trek to the far northeast to continue her soccer career.
“I never thought it would be possible for me to play sports after high school,” Murray resident Shelby Baker said. “I always thought I wasn’t good enough or that it would be too hard or no coaches ever watched me. I learned that so many colleges want you on their team. Coaches will not see you unless you put yourself out there.”
She began making opportunities for herself by creating a recruiting profile and sending to prospective teams.
“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” she said. “When I went to Maine, many of the players said the same thing. They thought they would have never had this chance.”
After a recruiting trip and several weeks of deliberation, Baker chose Central Maine Community College in Auburn, Maine.
The Mustangs are coming off a conference finals appearance and nearly qualified for the national tournament.
“Shelby fit into our program immediately,” Mustangs head coach Rob Rodriguez said. “She came here for a visit, and you would have never known that she wasn’t already part of the team. She was outgoing and made friends with the other team members. On the field, she is experienced and packs a ton of energy into her game.”
Baker was a forward for the Jaguars and scored three goals and had eight assists this season.
“A few schools emailed me, but Central Maine called me and sent an email that was very personalized for me,” Baker said. “They seemed very interested in me as a player. I talked to my mom, and she got in touch with the coach, and we scheduled a visit.”
“When I went there, I fell in love with the team and the chemistry they had,” she said.” Auburn is small, but it is beautiful, and it felt like home.”
It was not easy for her to make the decision. Auburn is 2,494 miles away from home or six hours on an airplane.
“It is really far, and that is a scary choice to make,” Baker said. “I decided it was the best option for me, and I could not be more excited to get started on my future.”
Rodriguez is finishing his fifth year as head coach of the school and likes the progress his team has made.
“We are coming off a successful season, as conference finalists,” he said. “We have raised the bar even higher. Adding Shelby to what we expect to be a dynamic offense will make us hard to defend. Our conference is very competitive. Attracting players such as Shelby from across the country is a big step forward for us in putting the best team possible on the field.”
Baker is scheduled to study in the nursing program. CMCC offers 40 academic degrees and certificates and boasts the lowest admission fees in the New England states.
“You never know where the perfect fit might be,” Rodriguez said. “ [Baker’s] personality really stuck out to me. She was good at marketing herself to us.”
Baker is a three-sport athlete at West Jordan. She played club soccer with Murray Max until she reached high school.
“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there because you are good enough you just need to trust yourself,” Baker said.