Signing day: Some non-football signings of note

Signing day is about more than just football. Here are some stories of athletes going to college to play soccer, baseball and softball
by Jenni Carlson and Ryan Aber and Jacob Unruh Published: February 6, 2013
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AUSTIN PLACE, Edmond Santa Fe

* College: Buffalo

* Sport: Soccer

Austin Place thought he was all set to head north to Western Michigan and play soccer.

Then, the Edmond Santa Fe defender decided to head a little farther north.

When the coach who recruited him at Western Michigan left to take the head coaching job at the University of Buffalo, Place decided to give the program in upstate New York near Lake Ontario a chance. He made a visit a few weeks ago.

“And I absolutely loved it,” Place said. “The day I got back ... I committed immediately.”

Now, he's headed to Buffalo, a city that gets more than 80 inches of snow annually to play soccer.

“I'm not one to be like, ‘I need it hot or I need it cold,'” Place said. “I'll adapt. Whenever I went up there, it wasn't too bad. I brought everything I possibly could ... but it wasn't too bad. I guess I'll survive four years.”

SOPHIA BRAZIL, Deer Creek

*College: Oklahoma Christian

*Sport: Soccer

Deer Creek's Sophia Brazil has a great example on what it takes to make it as a college athlete.

Brazil's stepmom is former Oklahoma softball player Sandy Ochoa, who played for the Sooners in the late '80s.

Brazil's talents, though, are on the soccer field. On Wednesday, she signed her letter of intent with Oklahoma Christian.

“She said it's a great way to go through college,” Brazil said. “Being an athlete and getting scholarships, it helps you financially but it's a great experience in general. It prepares you for life working with a team and stuff.”

Brazil, a forward, began playing soccer at the age of 3, and she instantly fell in love with the sport.

Her parents attempted to have her play other sports, but she always returned to soccer.

“At a young age we just tried to teach her the discipline, the dedication, the desire to go above and beyond what everybody else was doing,” Ochoa said.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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by Jacob Unruh
Reporter
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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