State Colleges

World Cup player Maria Sanchez leaves Idaho State women’s soccer

Maria Sanchez went unrecruited out of American Falls High. But she’s drawn attention from the Mexico national team since showing she can dominate the Big Sky.
Maria Sanchez went unrecruited out of American Falls High. But she’s drawn attention from the Mexico national team since showing she can dominate the Big Sky. ISU athletics

American Falls High grad Maria Sanchez, who suited up in one game for Mexico in the 2015 Women’s World Cup, has voluntarily left the Bengals’ program, the school announced Wednesday.

Sanchez told the Idaho State Journal she wants to pursue a professional career or a college scholarship with a more competitive program.

“The level I was seeing (with Mexico) compared to the level I was seeing at Idaho State was a big part of my decision,” Sanchez told the paper. “Obviously as a person that wants to make my career out of soccer, I want the most competitive environment I can have, and I just want to move on to something that will give me that.”

Sanchez has spent the spring playing for Mexico’s U-20 team, touring the U.S. as it prepares for the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup in November in Papua New Guinea. She scored twice for Mexico in the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship in December.

Sanchez was a first-team All-Big Sky pick last season as a sophomore, winning the league’s Golden Boot award as the top scorer in Big Sky play. She scored 15 overall goals and added four assists in 17 games for Idaho State in 2015.

Despite scoring 178 career goals and 68 as a senior at American Falls, Idaho State was the only scholarship offer she received out of high school. But she caught the eye of the Mexican national team during an open tryout in 2015.

“We appreciate what Maria has given us the last two years, and we wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors,” Idaho State coach Allison Gibson said in a statement.

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

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