Soccer all-CIF selections announced  

Hart girls celebrate their first goal of Saturday's game at College of the Canyons against Alta Loma on Feb. 10. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Hart girls celebrate their first goal of Saturday's game at College of the Canyons against Alta Loma on Feb. 10. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Three local Foothill League stars earned all-CIF soccer honors on Monday. 

Hart seniors Ariana Salvador and Natalie Mejia were named all-CIF after their successful years and first runs in the Division 1 postseason. 

Golden Valley keeper Gelber Sandoval also picked up all-CIF honors after his outstanding senior campaign. 

Both Salvador and Mejia will continue their playing careers at the Division 1 level as the former heads to Pepperdine while the latter is committed to St. Mary’s. 

Mejia was Hart coach Brett Croft’s vocal leader while Salvador, a Filipino Senior National teamer, always led by example. Both showcased tremendous work ethics while Salvador helped lay down another solid foundation in Hart’s storied history. 

“I tell everybody in the program, from frosh all the way up, that if you want to learn how to be great, just observe Ari as much as you can,” Croft said in a phone interview. “She’s extremely consistent and she’s not looking to receive any praise for it. She just knows that’s what it takes to do what she wants to do.” 

Sandoval is not yet committed to play at the next level but Golden Valley coach Stephen Evison knows his keeper is qualified to play between the posts in college. 

Golden Valley goalkeeper Gelber Sandoval (00) blocks a shot on goal. Signal File Photo. Dan Watson/The Signal

“It brings me immense joy and satisfaction to witness Gelber’s well-deserved recognition as an All-CIF Southern Section honoree,” Evison said via text message. “This accolade serves as a commendable culmination of his remarkable tenure with GV. Gelber’s impact was evident from his sophomore debut on varsity, catalyzing pivotal moments that propelled Golden Valley to playoff success, including their inaugural playoff win and a historic second-place finish in the Foothill League. His presence between the posts has been instrumental.” 

Croft will miss his senior duo’s talents plenty but also will need to adjust to being without the leadership roles the two filled for the last three years. Nonetheless, the coach is ecstatic to see his players compete at the next level as the best may be yet to come for the soon-to-be Hart alumni Mejia and Salvador. 

“Going D-1 was no question for either of them,” Croft said. “It’ll be a big next test for them and they know that I’m there to support them along that journey, through the good and not so good times. I have no doubt in my mind that they’ll both make an immediate and a large impact at that level, even though it is a big jump from high school.” 

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