Siblings can sometimes be the biggest motivators, the best support systems, and even better teammates.
That will be the case for the Vital sisters for the upcoming soccer season for the Blinn College Buccaneers after they were both informed of their spots on the roster following a tryout that, although postponed a couple of times, finally occurred in late June.
“The tryout was in May but it got postponed because of weather and then it got postponed again because of weather and I think after that one, they got a new coach and then Jessica and Bianca said, ‘Well know the tryout will be sometime in June,’ and I said ‘OK well I’ll be there,’” said Sealy girls soccer head coach Adrian Rocha.
The girls added there was a thought of also turning in, but they stuck with it instead.
“We were kind of working around it and we were about to give up too, but we were like, ‘It’ll be a really cool experience,” said Jessica, a member of the graduating class of 2019 from Sealy High School. “We still went out and tried and that’s all that mattered.”
“The tryout was on June 29, I remember that day, it was hot,” Rocha said. “I didn’t see the whole tryout; I saw only certain drills and they were doing pretty well but I wasn’t sure if it was quite college level, but I hadn’t experienced the college level either yet. I had to leave a little bit before the tryout was done but they made teams and scrimmaged and Jess said she made some goals in that time so she’s excited, her sister’s excited and I know she’s a little bit older but it’s a start for her too.”
Bianca, the elder sister, graduated from Sealy High School in 2016 and took some time off before attending Blinn College for a year and despite that time away from the field, she noted she was more than ready to go give it another shot on the pitch.
The Vitals played for Coach Rocha in his second year at the helm of the program in 2016 and the coach brought up a few similarities between their styles of play.
“I coached Bianca for two years and she was our forward just like Jessica and she was a captain as well, very passionate about the sport, she did a lot of things for the sport, she had to keep her grades up and
she knows she had a load on her back because the girls depended on her,” Rocha said. “I always tell the girls, ‘It’s not just about one of us, it’s about all of us,’ but Bianca always brought it upon herself. She was a great athlete and she didn’t give up, she wanted to keep playing but she would tell me, ‘Man, I’m so out of shape, should I even try out?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, you never know!’”
She clearly had some left in the tank and solidified that with her tryout that earned her a spot on the team alongside her sister once again.
“We’ll help each other out, during freshman year we would help each other with the assists,” Jessica said. “We weren’t about the goals; we were just trying to help the team.”
Of course, the goals did come at a high frequency and Rocha added there was a little added motivation for Jessica this past year.
“For her senior year, Bianca was our leading goal-scorer, she put in 21 and this year Jessica scored 20 and she was trying to beat the record,” he said.
Those 20 goals helped the 2019 Lady Tigers get back to the postseason and although they fell on a last-minute goal to the Brazosport Exporters, Rocha knew that experience will help in the long run.
“It was very shocking for all of us because we were not expecting that and I kept telling them, ‘Keep going, you don’t know what’s going to happen,’” Roach recounted of his messages to his team during the Bi-District Championship. “Of course, we came up one goal short, but I know they’ll never forget that, and I know Jessica will always remember that as well.”
That run will also go a ways in building the program in Sealy which Rocha has already made great strides in doing.
“I believe it’s a start for our program so the girls can see there are possibilities out there even if you just go for a year at a college and at least you can say you did that,” he said. “Soccer is growing in our area tremendously, even colleges and universities are picking up women’s soccer so our first girl that went was back in 2015 and that was my first year there and the girls just wanted to play, they weren’t thinking of something else out there but they knew that girl went to go play in college and they would look at the picture that we have of her on the wall and she even started subbing for us and we had some girls going and asking her questions so she would tell them how good of an experience it was but for them to see that two more people from our program are going, there’s hope.”
“Like I said, it starts with them and maybe not just a college will look at them, maybe it’ll be a university and for them to be going to college it puts them out there, it puts Sealy girls’ soccer out there,” Rocha added.”
Speaking of getting out there, the girls will be moving in to school later this week, but not before a family vacation first.
“We’re actually going on vacation tomorrow (July 26) to Las Vegas and by the time we get back we’ll have to move in,” Bianca said.
Once they’re settled, soccer will start up forthwith and they both included their excitement for getting to know more of the team.
“We know some of the returning ones but we won’t meet the rest of the team until August 3,” Jessica said. “We were close with them and we’re already talking about hanging out.”
Those new friendships are just one piece of the new journey they’re embarking on that they’re ready for.
“I’m looking forward to the college experience,” Bianca said. “Everyone gets the chance to try out but not everyone gets to make it and even if you didn’t make it would have been a good experience to see how it feels and what you have to work on for the next tryout.”
Although their time at the junior college will be limited, the girls already have their next steps in place.
“Right now, I’m doing my basics and then I want to transfer to Sam Houston State for criminal justice,” Bianca said. “I’m going for my basics and then I’m going to transfer, I don’t know to what school yet, but I want to transfer to do physical therapy,” Jessica added.
The familial connection will be strong for Blinn College, and the Vitals’ mentioned other family members playing a crucial role in getting them involved in the first place.
“My parents, if wasn’t for them pushing and supporting us, we wouldn’t have gotten passionate about soccer,” Bianca said.