Texas has announced that 78 of its student-athletes will soon receive their diplomas. Not everyone will quit wearing burnt orange, though.
Football players Jerrod Heard, Andrew Beck and Elijah Rodriguez, for example, are exhaust their remaining eligibility during the 2018-19 school year. The same goes for outfielder Tate Shaw. Soccer player Mikayla Flores, however, has decided to call it a career.
Flores declared earlier this year that she will not return to UT’s soccer team this fall. Due to knee injuries, Flores missed the 2014 and 2016 seasons and actually had two years of eligibility left. Flores, who is majoring in psychology and minoring in chemistry, will instead focus on attending medical school.
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18 years ago I discovered my first love. This beautiful game has been the biggest part of my life since I could walk. 4 years of recreational soccer, 10 years of club soccer, and 4 years of D1 college soccer. This semester I made the hardest decision I have ever had to make, and I have chosen not to take my extra years of eligibility. After these past 4 years of college soccer, 3 knee surgeries, and a lot of silent pain, my body was telling me it’s time to hang up the cleats. I am now choosing to solely focus on my education and on my dream- pursuing medical school so I can help athletes get back on the field just like my doctors helped me. Without soccer, I would never have become who I am today… I would have never learned discipline, hard work, passion, teamwork, and most of all, PERSEVERANCE. The obstacles I overcame have opened new doors in my life, and I would have never discovered my new dream without having my own knees cut open a few times (haha). I am so thankful for the lifelong friendships I have because of this sport. Thank you Mom for your unconditional love and support for me throughout my soccer career. Thank you Dad for being the best coach, mentor, friend and father during this journey the past 18 years. I would be nowhere without you two. Proud to officially be a Texas Soccer Alumni. I will always love this game, but here’s to a new chapter of my life ✨🤘🏽 #LegendsFC #TexasSoccer #loveforthegamealways
A California native, Flores was Texas’ second-leading scorer and a member of the Big 12’s all-freshman team in 2015. Injured 22 minutes into the first match of the 2016 season, Flores returned a year later to tally a goal and three assists for a Longhorn team that reached the third round of the NCAA tournament. She played in all 21 of Texas’ matches.
Even without Flores, Texas will have plenty of experience on its roster this upcoming season. Of UT’s four graduates, only Flores played in more than one match in 2017.
Texas opens its 2018 season at Rice on Aug. 17.
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