Former Cal State Fullerton women’s soccer forward Connie Caliz began her professional soccer career that she and her family had hoped to achieve after signing with LA Galaxy Orange County women’s soccer team on March 12.
Earlier in the year, Caliz registered for the National Women’s Soccer League draft, but left empty-handed. Though she was crushed, she didn’t let the defeat make the best of her.
— Connie Caliz (@CalizConnie) January 18, 2018
Taking advantage of the trip, she took the initiative following the draft and attended open tryouts for Seattle Reign FC. Caliz then found herself receiving an invitation to try out for the Utah Royals FC.
In the weeks leading up to the Utah Royals tryout, Caliz practiced with the CSUF women’s soccer team, the team she previously played for and contributed to three Big West conference titles in her five seasons. It demonstrated her hunger for the opportunity and setting an example for not only the program but to the underclassmen.
“Hopefully, this does become more of the line of opportunity for women to look at and use them as role models and guidance,” said Titans Head Coach Demian Brown.
Caliz credited the discipline she gained through her coaches with the CSUF women’s soccer greatly, emphasizing that without her time on the team, she wouldn’t have gotten where she is now.
“Especially with my coach (Brown) being so disciplined and telling us to be on time and attend classes. People who came a little late to the professional tryout … the coaches didn’t really care about them anymore,” Caliz said.
The 24-year-old had set out to Utah with hopes of leaving with a contract, but Caliz came down with food poisoning and the flu, hindering her ability to demonstrate her full potential.
Though she was unable to showcase her skills, the coaching staff still saw a future in the forward.
“They will call me later. They said maybe for practices and then work my way to a contract,” Caliz said.
As her chance still loomed with the Utah Royals, the determination she gained through her childhood propelled her to continue her journey of becoming a professional athlete.
Another door suddenly opened for Caliz after receiving a voicemail from UC Irvine Head Coach Scott Juniper, who was named the head coach of the new LA Galaxy OC women’s team.
“His response was funny because he said ‘It would be nice to have you on my team rather than trying to defend you,’” Caliz said. “I’m glad he thought of me to be on the team.”
— LA Galaxy Orange County Women (@lagalaxyocwomen) March 24, 2018
The LA Galaxy OC women’s team was introduced to United Women’s Soccer in the beginning of January 2018 and is set to begin matches in May. The league allows not only collegiate athletes to continue enhancing their skills, but gives post-collegiate athletes an opportunity to venture into professional and international play.
“Honestly, it’s mind-blowing,” Caliz said. “I’m really shocked with how fast it’s moved. I get to be a part of that eventually.”
Not only does this give Caliz an opportunity to become a part of the growing atmosphere of women’s soccer at a national level, but it marks the first step toward her end goal.
“I am going to go pro. I am definitely going to go pro,” Caliz said.