Photo of Maria Rico by David Morris/UMHB Athletics Department
BELTON, Texas- For just the third time in program history, the UMHB women’s soccer team has an All-American.
Forward Maria Rico was named a Third-Team All-America by the United Soccer Coaches (USC) on Wednesday, adding to her list of accolades earned this season after tallying an ASC-best 13 goals in 19 matches for the Crusaders this season. The Cedar Park, Texas native was a First-Team USC Region X selection, as well as the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, as she also led the ASC in shots (59) and ranked second in points (31).
The junior also tallied five game-winning goals this past year and recorded a hat trick against Sul Ross State on Oct. 7.
Head coach Barry Elkins was extremely proud of his leading scorer when the selection was announced Wednesday afternoon.
“I am so proud of Maria,” Elkins said in a release from the UMHB Athletics Department. “She has been dreaming of achieving this for a while now and has put in the work to get here.
“Every day in practice she’ll do some amazing things and we always say ‘Maria is just doing it the Maria way.’ This time, Maria made all-American doing it the Maria way.”
The previous two USC All-Americans for the Cru are Sarah Rempe (2017) and Charis Brantley (2016). Rico was also one of just two 2021 All-Americans from the ASC, as Hardin-Simmons’ Madelyn Dowell was named to the Second Team.
Rico is set to return next season for her senior year, as UMHB looks to follow up on a 14-3-2 record this past fall that featured a trip to the ASC Championship match.