College soccer: MW women's program to feature several local athletes

College soccer: MW women's program to feature several local athletes
Women's soccer players signing to play for Minnesota West coach Jacob Barker (standing) are (from left) Jacqueline Perez, Abegayle Holtz (from Hutchinson) Heidi Ramirez, Jazmin Reveles, Jessica Ventura and TahSoGhay Collah (all from Worthington). (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Fledgling athletic programs aren't normally in a position to promise many wins, but at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, the 2019 women's soccer team at least seems assured of a full roster of players.

There are 15 players in position to play when the campaign begins in the fall of this year, including at least half a dozen from Worthington. First-year head coach Jacob Barker is still trying to add more players.

Originally from Arkansas, Barker came to southwest Minnesota to assist the college baseball program with head coach TD Hostikka. The soccer position opened, and Barker was awarded the job in January.

He went right to work on recruiting.

"I'm thrilled," he said on Saturday, as six local recruits gathered at the college to sign letters of intent. "And I'm really happy we have a bunch of local girls on the team. It's good for the school, it's good for the community. I'm just glad we've got a program."

Barker says he expects to get coaching help from his fiancee, who is finishing up her fourth year as a soccer player at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Ark.

Minnesota West's 2019 soccer schedule is still being compiled. It will probably be a schedule of 10 to 12 games when finalized.

Barker is stressing effort and attitude in his first year at the helm.

"I just want to make sure we get started on the right foot. It's a new program, we just want to get it started off right," he said.