WOHS Soccer Stars Celebrate Signing Day


Kiley Capstraw, In Our School/In Our Town Editor

On Wednesday, November 11th, West Orange High School girls soccer stars signed their National Letters of Intent (NLI) to further their athletic career at the next level. Emma Mitchell, forward, signed to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Kaya Schultz, midfielder, made it official that she was going to the University at Buffalo (UB). Gianna Festino, midfielder, signed to Eastern University. 


Emma Mitchell will be attending the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in the fall of 2021, which is a Division 1 school. During her time at West Orange, Mitchell has recorded 37 goals and 23 assists. She has been a starter on the varsity team since her freshman year when she instantly made a statement during the preseason. Mitchell explained her memory of winning the state sectional championship on Lincoln field her sophomore year: “It just happened so fast, and when everyone stormed the field, it kind of all just hit me.” The Pioneer asked her what emotions were running through her head while she signed her NLI. Mitchell states, “I was mostly excited. I couldn’t believe all this was finally happening and it’s now feeling like it happened so fast. Almost too fast; I’m already getting sad that I’ll be leaving soon.” 

Kaya Schultz, a four-year varsity starter and key playmaker signed her NLI to the University at Buffalo, which is also a Division 1 school. While playing for the Mountaineers, Schultz has scored 22 goals and assisted 26 goals. When asked why she chose UB, she responded, “I chose Buffalo because I had a really great official visit in February. I got to live with the girls for a few days and really get a feel for the school and I ended up loving it. The girls were really welcoming and funny and the coaching staff is amazing. I also loved the intensity at practice.” Although she feels a little sad that her high school career is coming to an end, Schultz explains that she is excited to embark on her new journey in college. 


Gianna Festino, an important component of the girls soccer team, will be attending Eastern University, a division 3 school. She is an outside midfielder and has enjoyed her years of experience on the field for the Mountaineers. When she started playing soccer in the third grade, she knew this was something that she wanted to do at the next level. Festino is ready for the challenge of collegiate soccer, as she states in her response to The Pioneer. “I’m most excited to start fresh with new people and make a new impression on who I am on and off the field. I’m really looking forward to utilizing all of the years of training I’ve gotten and using it to my full potential for college soccer.” 

The West Orange Girls Soccer team has their first round of states game this Wednesday, November 18 at 2 pm on Lincoln Field. They will look to capture another state title after winning in 2018 and losing in the finals last year.