Family, friends and former teammates gathered at the Fairbanks Youth Soccer Association pavilion Wednesday to celebrate Sierra Shurr’s signing to the California State University Monterey Bay Otters women’s soccer team. 

Shurr, a graduate of Hutchison High School’s class of 2019, has played soccer for 13 years, having started at the age of five with the FYSA recreational programs. 

“It’s been a long trip to get this far,” said Hawks girls soccer head coach Martin Shurr. In addition to guiding Shurr on the field, Martin is also Sierra’s father, and he described how soccer shaped her college decision process. “We looked at (around) eight different schools with Sierra,” Martin said, “but with Cal State, she liked the coaching style, the playing style and the program seemed to really like her.”

Shurr played varsity girls soccer for Hutchison during all four years of high school and was named Most Valuable Player for the 2019 Mid-Alaska Conference.

When asked to reflect on her time playing for the Hawks, Shurr noted that being able to travel her senior year was a definitely highlight. “All throughout the years we didn’t have the opportunity to travel because it was a big rebuilding time for the team,” Shurr said. “We had to rebuild ourselves because a lot of players graduated, but we worked through it.” Shurr also noted that winning both travel games had a noticeable impact on the team. 

In addition to her time at Hutch, Shurr also competed with the Eclipse Soccer Club from sixth grade to senior year. Howard Maxwell, Director of Coaching for the Eclipse program commented on Shurr’s dedication both on and off the field. “Sierra is a dedicated, hardworking player with a strong work ethic,” Maxwell said. “She’s very, very coachable, and she has a clear sense of the game, (including) spacing and visual analysis. At the next level, she’ll do a good job.” 

Martin echoed Maxwell’s praise about Shurr’s critical eye for the game. “She may not be the biggest player on the field, or the fastest player on the field, but she’s pretty much the smartest,” Martin said. “She knows where everybody on her team should be when she plays ... she knows how to set things up, she’s a playmaker.”

In addition to playing for both Eclipse and the Hawks, Shurr participated in the statewide Olympic Development Program for soccer, while also competing on the road with multiple soccer clubs from around the state. 

On the field, Shurr played largely in defensive and attacking midfield positions.

While she has yet to find out her field position with the NCAA Division II Cal State Otters, Shurr foresees herself playing somewhere on the defensive line.

Looking ahead, Shurr is excited for the next stage in both her athletic and academic paths. “I’m mostly excited about the experience of being able to play college soccer,” Shurr said. “Working with school and soccer, and having to practice everyday and work through that, that’s something completely new.” 

Shurr will study biology at Cal State, and hopes to attend pharmacy school after earning her undergraduate degree.

Like many incoming college freshmen, she is slightly apprehensive about her schedule and workload, especially with playing a sport full time. “The schedule is going to be a little rough because there are classes everyday, practices everyday, so it’s going to be hard to juggle all the studying, but I’ll be able to make my way through it.”

Contact News-Miner sports assistant Brian Ely at 459-7589.