JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — A lifelong passion has turned into educational opportunities for Marble Falls High School seniors Jimmy Fermin and Erik Salgado.
The two signed letters of intent May 6 to play college soccer. Fermin will attend Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, Oklahoma, while Salgado decided on Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri.
Fermin said SWCU is the perfect size with a total enrollment of 6,600.
“Everything is still old-timey,” he said. “I felt at home. They treated me well. They took to me like I was part of the team.”
Fermin said he felt a bond with head coach James Cottage.
“He likes me (at every position),” the Mustang said. “He thinks I can be great.”
The Mustangs’ two-time Most Valuable Player and a first-team all-District 25-5A member, Salgado, who was recruited as a center midfielder, said one of the top reasons he chose Crowder College was because the scholarship money was better and soccer is important to the campus.
“They have a good soccer program,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting when I play for them.”
The Eagles won the National Christian College Athletic Association Central Region championship last season.
Signing a letter of intent means Salgado will be the first in his family to go to college.
Marble Falls head coach Rick Hoover helped him locate a collegiate soccer program. Hoover said Salgado has the tools to play for a four-year university.
“Talent-wise, he has the ability,” the coach said.
Hoover called Fermin a great all-around talent and leader, and his signing was truly a success story. He said the athlete suffered an eye injury that cut short his final year in a Mustangs uniform. For a few weeks, those close to the youngster were unsure if he would play the sport again. Hoover said Fermin is fully recovered.
“He falls into a category of a rebirth,” he said. “A lot times, when you experience something like that, that’s a game changer. Sometimes, when you get an event like that, it makes you grow up real quick. You don’t take it for granted. If he can’t go any further (than playing college soccer), he wants to be a coach. I told him I have a job waiting for him.”
Both players, who have played the sport for 14 years, got their starts playing for their dads. Both said they have some great memories because of that.
Salgado, who wants to be a pediatrician, played for his father, Irving, for nine years, but “the first time I kicked a ball, I was about a year.”
His mother is Hilga Salgado.
“He’s an awesome coach and father,” he said. “My parents were so proud when they hard the news I got recruited. They were happy; so was I. I’m going to college to play for (my dad).”
For Fermin, playing soccer was a family activity. While his father, Jimmy, served as the coach, his mother, Tonya, was the team mom.
“That’s what I liked about it,” he said. “It made me the person I am. Everything I know is from my dad.”
The athlete will major in sports management with a minor in kinesiology.