Dec. 14, 2018, Sterling, Colo. — Gaetan Garcia is the first soccer student-athlete of the 2019 graduating class to sign to continue his athletic and academic career. Garcia signed a National Letter of Intent with University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) in Chickasha, Okla. USAO has won the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament eight times in their history and has made the NAIA National Tournament nine times. The Drovers finished the 2018 season with an overall record of 14-3-3 and were ranked 20th in the final regular season poll.
On signing day Garcia commented, "I chose USAO because they offered me a good scholarship that allows me to continue my education, and it is a really good school with a great soccer program. My goals are to get my degree and play soccer as a starter. I hope to succeed in all aspects I undertake in this new journey."
USAO Head Coach Jimmy Hampton commented on Garcia, "We are delighted Gaetan decided to invest his trust in USAO. He is a player that we feel can come in and have an immediate impact for us. We are excited about his experience and leadership qualities that he has gained in the past two years, through playing and winning at a high level with Northeastern Junior College. Any time you can bring in a player who has experience of the American college game, has competed and been a part of a winning program and culture, and has the qualities we are looking for as a player, it is an easy choice. We were close to making the national tournament last year; we were, in fact, the last team out. So with Gaetan and several other new faces coming in to join our established core of players, we feel strongly about our chances of making a run at the national tournament again in 2019."
Head Coach of Northeastern, Keith Buderus was also excited for Garcia. "Gaetan was the leader of our defense, which finished the regular season top 10 in NJCAA in every important category. As one of the top defenders in Region IX, he is ready to step in right away to impact the NAIA. He has been an integral part of our rebuilding process. Gaetan is an aerial monster who can also put a pass or cross on a dime; his technical ability with both feet is exceptional. He was awarded First Team-All Region, which proves he was recognized by the other players and coaches. His current GPA of 3.51 is a testament to his hard work in the classroom, and he is a serious student who has made us proud. His infectious smile and positive personality will be missed on and off the field."