Shaylin Cesar is Montana bound.
The senior soccer and volleyball standout at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé committed to Montana State University Billings on Monday, signing a national letter of intent during a small ceremony at JDHS.
“It’s definitely exciting to test out the next level,” said Cesar, who will be one of three goalkeepers on the Yellowjackets women’s soccer team. “I hear it’s so much more competitive and exciting. And since college soccer has been a goal of mine for a while, I’m definitely fired up and ready to try and compete for a spot on the team.”
The signing came just days ahead of the opening of the spring soccer season on Thursday. The Crimson Bears, who won the state championship last season, open the season at home April 3 against Thunder Mountain High School.
The Juneau goalkeeper played in December in the Portland Timbers Alliance College Showcase, a four-day event designed to give increased exposure to high school players. The Juneauite’s team went 2-0-1, and Cesar’s play in net was noticed by at least one interested coach: MSUB’s Stephen Cavallo. The second-year head coach invited Cesar to Montana last month, and offered her an athletic scholarship to play for the Yellowjackets.
“After my visit I thought about it a lot,” Cesar said. “I talked to my coach and talked to my parents and made the decision when we realized this is a great opportunity and I would definitely regret not taking the opportunity to play for them.”
Cesar was named the starting goalkeeper as a freshmen and went on to win 23 games as an underclassmen. As a junior she tallied shutouts in 13 of 16 games — including the semifinals and finals at the state tournament — to become the all-time leader in that statistic at JDHS. The Crimson Bears finished the 2018 campaign 13-1-2. West Anchorage was the lone team to post a victory over them.
“Even from her freshman year, she’s always been our foundation, our rock,” JDHS coach Matt Dusenberry said. “To simplify our game we’ve got to score more than the other team. It certainly helps to have somebody like her that helps us limit the number of times the opposition puts it in the back of the net.”
Cesar grew up playing basketball and didn’t come around to soccer until she was in middle school.
“I just definitely jumped into the position as a seventh-grader,” Cesar said. “Goalie’s kind of a position no one wants to do. As a shy kid, I was like, ‘If no one else wants to do it, I guess I’ll try it it out.’ I just grew a love for it and then once it became more competitive, it was just a passion.”
MSUB women’s soccer is an NCAA Division II program and one of 17 Yellowjacket sports teams. The club went 4-12-1 last season and finished last the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Cesar said she’s looking into majoring in health and human performance and hopes to carve out a career in the medical field.
JDHS girls soccer schedule
April 3 Thunder Mountain
April 5-6 at Ketchikan
April 11 at Wasilla
April 12 at Colony
April 13 at Grace Christian
April 18 at Thunder Mountain
April 19 Homer
April 20 Ketchikan
April 25 Thunder Mountain
April 26 Soldotna
May 2 Grace Christian
May 3 Ketchikan
May 9 at South Anchorage
May 10 at Service
May 11 at East Anchorage
May 15 at Thunder Mountain
May 23-25 ASAA state championships (Anchorage)
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.