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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Q&A with new 2025 Aggie soccer commit Riley Crooks

via Instagram/Riley.crooks

On Sept. 25, Riley Crooks announced her commitment to play for Texas A&M soccer in the 2025 season on X. Crooks, a Huntington Beach, California native, attends Edison High School and plays for Slammers FC in the ECNL League.
Q: When did you begin playing soccer?
A: “I played soccer pretty much my whole life. My mom’s a soccer coach at my high school, so I kind of grew up on the field, but I think I started playing club soccer in second grade.”
Q: What is the soccer competition level like in California?
A: “I’d say it’s really competitive. For the ECNL League, it’s definitely very competitive. There’s a ton of teams, but there’s a ton of different leagues, so it kind of just depends what league you’re in.”
Q: What are some of the biggest accomplishments that you have achieved in soccer?
A: “For my club team, we made it to the Elite Eight for playoffs last year, which was really big because we weren’t really supposed to go that far in rankings. I’ve made first team all-league the last two years for my league, so that’s been really cool. Then in high school, I won MVP for the team.”
Q: What was it about A&M that stood out for you during your recruitment?
A: “When I went on my official visit, that’s really what drew me there, just the energy. I was really looking for a place with good culture with the team and the school. Meeting the coaches was really amazing because coach G [Guerrieri], he started the program basically, which is just awesome. They also have a lot of newer coaches too, which is also really cool. It was really the energy that the school gave and we went to the midnight yell practice, which was crazy. They don’t have anything like that in California.”
Q: What other schools were you being recruited to?
A: “I had a couple in California, but I also had some in Idaho and that’s kind of it. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to leave California, which was kind of the hard part. I went to UCI and Pepperdine and then there was a couple others but I didn’t really end up talking to them a lot.”
Q: What made you feel comfortable to move out of California?
A: “Like I said, it was just culture. It’s a really big change from California to Texas. I live probably five minutes from the beach here, so it’s just a big change. But once I got there, I kind of realized I feel safe here. I feel comfortable here.”
Q: What position are you planning on playing at A&M?
A: “Right now, I’m playing center back but I also play outside back or defensive mid a lot, but I’m not really completely sure where I’ll play at A&M. Probably somewhere in the defense. They’ve said probably center back, but a lot of players get moved around when they go to college, so I guess we’ll just see.”
Q: What are some things that you hope to accomplish at A&M?
A: “I was looking for a high-up academic school, so I want to get a degree. I’m looking to study kinesiology or exercise science. Then just play high-level soccer, which they already do. I really think that they play a style of soccer that I like to play, so getting minutes and getting my degree.”
Q: What career do you have in mind after you get out of college?
A: “I want to do athletic training or [physical therapy]. I’m not exactly sure but something in that kind of field. Something with athletes.”
Q: Have you had a chance to come watch a soccer game?
A: “Yeah, we went to the game versus Kentucky. It was really cool. Got to do the locker room and everything before the game.”
Q: What did you think of the atmosphere inside Ellis Field?
A: “It was really cool. I’ve never been to a school where it was a stadium just for women’s soccer, which was so cool. Everybody was really excited to be there, they wanted to be there and it was cool that there’s like a student section. You can see they’d move to behind the opponent’s goalkeeper. It was insane.”
Q: When did you decide that you were going to commit to A&M?
A: “I decided, I think it was a week later, after my visit. I was thinking about it, and there were no cons to going there. Like everything I was thinking about. I was like, ‘A&M’s the best.’ There’s just no bad thing that could happen if I went there. Just the best option overall.”
Q: What stands out about coach Guerrieri to you the most?
A: “The way that he coaches. I’ve had a ton of different coaches. He’s strict with them, but he’s going to teach them, like they want to create a good player and a good person as well. There’s definitely a lot of coaches who are like ‘just do this, just do that’. He wants us to grow and use things that you’re good at. He wants to use those. He doesn’t want you to just do whatever he says, he wants you to become a good player.”
Q: How excited was coach Guerrieri when you let him know you were going to commit to A&M?
A: “He was so excited. I called him after a soccer game. I know a lot of people graduate early at Texas schools, but it’s unheard of in California, so we were talking about that. I was just like,‘I think I want to be an Aggie, Coach,’ and he was so excited. Two minutes after, I had the other three coaches texting me like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t wait for you to come.’ They’re all just super supportive.”
Q: Will you be graduating from high school early?
A: “I’m not sure yet. Like I said it’s not very common in California, so I’d have to see if my school even allows it. They only started doing it I think last year, so they said we’ll see. Timing is also different. Our first semester doesn’t end until the beginning of February, and A&M’s second semester starts after Christmas break, so it’ll just be weird timing.”
Q: Is there anything you think A&M fans should know about yourself?
A: “I’m really excited to become an Aggie. It’s something that I didn’t know that I wanted to do until I went there. You can definitely see that there’s something special at A&M that’s not there at the other schools.”

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