Mia Santana signs to play soccer at San Diego Christian

Mia Santana


If everything goes as planned for Mia Santana, the Santa Maria High senior will spend the next four years playing soccer and studying at San Diego Christian College.

Not long after that, Santana hopes to be right back in the classroom.

The Santa Maria soccer standout signed with San Diego Christian on Friday. While she’s playing for the Hawks, she plans on studying to become a history teacher once she graduates from college. 

Santana said Nicole DeMatteo, one of her history teachers at SMHS, helped inspire her to get into the teaching field.

But before Santana rushes off to a professional career, she's got a senior season of soccer to focus on and four years playing for the Hawks in San Diego.

SDCC is an NAIA school that plays in the Golden State Athletic Conference against schools like Westmont, The Master's University, Arizona Christian and Life Pacific University. 

"I do like their playing style and I'm getting excited to start playing over there," Santana said. "They play really forward and push everybody up with three in the defensive line. I play outside back right now in high school."

Santana started playing club soccer in the eighth grade. She was with the Saints last season when they won the school's first CIF championship in the sport. 

"My family has been really helpful getting me to this point, my friends and teammates and of course my coach, Cristian Alvarez," Santana said. 

Alvarez has also coached Santana at the club level. Santana said playing in a camp in Los Angeles helped her get noticed by college programs. 

"Then they contacted me when we played Lompoc," Santana said. "I had a long phone conversation with the coach and I liked what he had to say about the school."

Alvarez has made a habit of sending his soccer players to the next level to out-of-area schools. Santa Maria has three girls playing on the women's soccer team at Waldorf University in Iowa. 

"It feels great seeing kids play at the next level because it means we're developing them the right way," Alvarez said. "They don't have to go to a four-year school directly. I've sent girls to junior colleges and that's perfectly fine. A four-year program is just something extra. I'm really proud of Mia for going through with this."

Alvarez said one of Santana's best traits is her ability to punch above her weight. She's about 5-feet tall, yet she can hold her own against bigger players. 

"She's a very smart player and she uses her speed really well," Alvarez said of Santana. "She's not a player who goes after contact, but she likes to touch the ball and move the ball up quickly. She can read the game and that's an advantage. She can compete at this level. Who knows if she'll start right away, but she'll definitely compete and earn herself a spot there."

Alvarez said Santana taking on this challenge can show the younger players that they can follow a similar path.

"What I like about Mia, because of her size people underestimate her a lot," Alvarez said. "I had her in club since day one and something I've always had confidence in was her willingness to never give up. I've always been able to depend on her on the field. Seeing her grow to this point and seeing her get this scholarship is an example of hard work paying off. It also teaches the freshmen of what is possible. She's set the bar pretty high."

After Santana signed with San Diego Christian, the Saints played a Friday night home game against Nipomo and won 3-1 on penalty kicks. The match was tied 1-1 in regular time.