ROY HESS | Staff Writer
Brianna Garza did whatever she could to help the Harlingen High Lady Cardinals on the soccer field.
That meant playing several positions during the 2019 season, and actually, throughout her four-year varsity career.
The versatile senior is the Valley Morning Star’s 2019 All-Star Girls Soccer Utility Player of the Year.
“I had an open mindset to everything I was asked to do (as far as playing different positions),” said Garza, who plans to attend Texas A&M-Corpus Christi next school year and concentrate on academics. “I would ask the girls who were playing the position I was going to for their help. I wasn’t against taking advice from anybody because if I was going to play a certain position, I wanted to play it to the best of my ability and help the team out as much as I could.”
Garza said she is grateful to be honored as the Star’s top utility player.
“It made me feel good, because these last four years I’ve put in a lot of work,” she said. “I’ve just tried my best to make the most out of my senior year. An award like this shows my hard work has paid off for my four years with the program, and I’m really proud of that.”
Garza was named first-team All-District 32-6A at midfielder this year.
Lady Cardinals coach Debra Galvan said Garza was an important member of the team.
“Brianna played sweeper her freshman through junior years and then defender on the side for us this year,” Galvan said. “Then (as a senior, she also played) center mid and (midfielder) wing.
“Brianna stepped up when we needed her to play a tough position at center mid,” Galvan added. “She never said no. She just stepped up to the plate and learned the position. Brianna played defense, center mid and wing, and she motivated the girls to play hard. She will be missed.”
Seeing the program rebound and make the playoffs the past two seasons has meant a lot to Garza. The Lady Cardinals went into the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from District 32-6A this season.
They surprised District 31-6A champion Edinburg North 2-0 in bi-district March 28. The Harlingen High girls were eliminated during the second round 4-2 by a strong La Joya Juarez-Lincoln team April 2.
“It means a lot to me (to play for the Lady Cardinals),” Garza said. “I think it has showed me how to work hard for something I really want. My first two years were kind of rough because we didn’t really go anywhere (and make the playoffs). We got used to our coach my junior year, and we really started going places. A lot of the girls on the team have learned you have to work hard for the things that you want.
“I think our win against Edinburg North reinforced the belief we had in each other,” Garza added. “It’s a big deal beating a district champion in the playoffs. Everyone thought we were going to lose because we came into the playoffs as our district’s fourth-place team. That win helped us boost our confidence in each other. It showed us we could do it.”
The graduating senior has a parting message for the Lady Cardinals who are returning.
“I would just like to say to my (underclassman) teammates that I hope they can make it farther (in the playoffs) than we did this year,” Garza said. “I’ll be out there supporting them.”