SRJC women’s soccer: Christina Rebata headed to Arizona State

Santa Rosa Junior College's Christina Rebata will be playing soccer for Arizona State next season. (ALVIN JORNADA / The Press Democrat, 2013)

Santa Rosa Junior College’s Christina Rebata will be playing soccer for Arizona State next season. (ALVIN JORNADA / The Press Democrat, 2013)

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By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A catalyst for three section prep titles and among the Empire’s best, Christina Rebata still wasn’t prepared for top college soccer coming out of Casa Grande.

Helping Santa Rosa Junior College to a state title and another postseason run while improving in the classroom primed the former Gauchos star for the major college game. Rebata will play at Arizona State next season.

“Playing in the Pac-12 was a dream. I’ve come a long way,” Rebata said. “It’s really exciting.”

Rebata leads a class of nine SRJC women’s soccer players who stood out well enough as a team and individuals to earn spots in four-year college programs. Such a mass promotion is rare and a tribute to coach Tracy Hamm’s efforts to help Empire soccer standouts transition to the next level.

“These players share perseverance, work ethic, determination to follow their goals, a love of the game, and commitment to improving,” Hamm said.

Santa Rosa enjoyed another great season, finishing second in the state’s toughest conference — the Big 8 — and splitting a pair of state playoff contests.

Leading the Bear Cubs was Rebata, the Big 8 defensive player of the year. A strong two-way player, Rebata led the conference in goals and was second in total points. Four other Santa Rosa players made all-conference: Twin sister Courtney, also from Casa Grande; Jill Anderson, from Santa Rosa; Molly Schuster, from Analy; and Erica Cunningham, from Ursuline.

“We just pulled it together,” Christina Rebata said. “Each player set a tone. We were all real competitive.”

The experience of playing on Santa Rosa’s state title team in 2011 inspired Rebata to set a higher standard for her play.

She sat out the following season to take more classes and be eligible to transfer.

“Going to the JC couldn’t have been a better decision. If I didn’t do that, none of this would have been possible,” she said. “I took things way more serious.”

Credit coach Hamm for pushing her players to reach their potential on and off the field, Rebata said.

“She was pretty intense. She expected a lot of us,” Rebata said.

A big season was in store for Rebata after training harder in hopes of drawing interest from major college coaches.

“Christina is a great athlete, she is excellent in the air, determined, strong, quick, and has a high level of technical ability,” Hamm said. “She has improved her understanding of tactics and how to organize and communicate more effectively with her teammates.”

Playing both midfield and center back, Rebata was versatile, rarely coming off the field.

“I’m a real competitive player. I did want to be the top goal scorer. But I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” she said.

Expecting much from herself and teammates, Rebata had a positive impact on the team’s performance, Hamm said.

“Christina needed to learn how to compete and play without relying solely on her athleticism,” Hamm said. “Christina asked a lot of questions and became more of a student of the game.”

Playing stronger on the ball and making smarter decisions were the major improvements needed to make it in the major college game, Rebata said.

“I filled different roles. I think I’m a better all-around player now,” she said.

Arizona State coaches were looking for such a player, one who could help anchor the defense yet also excel at a variety of positions, Hamm said.

“I think Christina can have an immediate impact,” Hamm said. “The game will be much faster. Her physical presence and ability to perform her best in big games will serve her well at the next level.”

The rare junior college transfer into the Arizona State program, Rebata wants to compete for a starting position with the Sun Devils.

“I don’t think that I’ve fully made it until I’ve earned that spot. That will take a lot of dedication,” Rebata said. “You always want to set a high standard.”

You can reach Michael Coit at Mike.Coit@pressdemocrat.com

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