Alondra Venegas and Cameron Rodriguez have usually been by each other’s side.
Whether it’s playing soccer together since the age of four or in anything else in life, the Lady Bronchos’ duo has been close for more than a decade.
Wednesday afternoon, together again inside the Odessa High Fieldhouse, Rodriguez and Venegas took another big step in their lives — signing letters of intent to officially commit to their athletic futures.
Venegas and Rodriguez both signed with Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College in front of friends, family and Lady Bronchos’ teammates.
“I just have so much emotion right now,” Venegas said moments after signing. “I’m happy and excited, but so sad and overwhelmed.
“We’re finishing our chapter here, but we’re starting a new beginning at another level to continue our education but also playing soccer where we share that passion, share that love, that bond.”
Venegas and Rodriguez will join the Blue Dragons, who didn’t have a single Texan on their roster in 2017.
The 647-mile drive from Odessa to Hutchinson will be easier for the Lady Bronchos’ seniors knowing that they have each other making that same journey.
“It helps to have someone go with you,” Odessa High head girls soccer coach Cecilia Kellar said. “You feel more comfortable, more confident about going … it’ll help them be successful that they have someone there, especially going out of state where you’re not with your families.
“You saw the support that they have. Not having that with them all the time, having each other to rely on is going to be really important.”
Rodriguez and Venegas aren’t the first Odessa High girls soccer duo to sign to play collegiately together. Other recent pairs went to Lubbock Christian, Richardson Community College and UTPB.
Venegas and Rodriguez also played a few different positions throughout their high school career, which should make the transition to the college game a little easier, Kellar said.
“We’ve played together since we were four, so the duo is staying together,” Rodriguez said. “For a little while, I thought we were going to separate and then out of nowhere, she decided to surprise me, and we ended up choosing the same one.”
As a senior, Venegas was named District 2-6A MVP by finishing the season with 25 goals and 14 assists. She ended her high school career with 72 goals and 40 assists. Kellar added it’s safe to presume that Venegas is the Lady Bronchos’ all-time leading goal scorer.
Venegas primarily played striker for Odessa High throughout her four years of varsity soccer, but also got to spend time in the midfield and on the wing. She said she’ll play anywhere the Blue Dragons’ coaching staff wants her to.
“Her work ethic is not just on the soccer field, its everywhere,” Kellar said about Venegas. “You can ask any one of her teachers, she’s a great kid. They’ll speak about her the way I speak about her.”
Rodriguez’s three years on the Lady Bronchos’ varsity squad was spent on defense or in the midfield, although she ended her Odessa High career with eight goals and five assists.
Rodriguez said the Hutchinson CC coaching staff was interested in her playing defensive midfield, where she played a lot in 2018.
“They have been constants, especially this year and they’re definitely two kids that we have depended on the past couple years,” Kellar said about Venegas and Rodriguez.
“We’ve traveled all over to play soccer,” Rodriguez added. “We’ve been to Florida, to wherever, you name it. We’ve had tournaments back to back. It’s just like another adventure we’re willing to take.”