By Jeremy Balan
After scoring six goals in West Catholic Athletic League play last season, good enough for second in the league, Celeste Boureille raised some eyebrows as a sophomore.
But the Sacred Heart Cathedral forward won’t be flying under anyone’s radar anymore, as she recently verbally committed to play collegiate soccer at Cal, amid a breakout junior season.
Boureille has 11 goals in 13 total games this season entering the slate of WCAL games Wednesday, five ahead of her closest competitors in the WCAL, and chose the Golden Bears over other Division I programs Maryland, Santa Clara, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount and Oregon State.
“I’m really very excited and I’m happy I finally decided,” Boureille said. “It was a long process, but I’m happy it’s over.”
Boureille admitted that Maryland was her second choice, but was ultimately happy about staying close to home.
“Obviously [Cal] has a great soccer program over there, but it’s also an amazing school with an amazing reputation,” Boureille said. “I know I can go there and be the best athlete I can be.”
Cal head coach Neill McGuire likely capitalized on some familiarity, as he also coaches within Boureille’s club program, but luckily for Sacred Heart head coach Matthew Nuttall, she’ll be back for another season with the Irish.
“It’s a great joy and we’re really lucky to have her next year,” Nuttall said. “In 10 years, I haven’t coached anyone who’s had her type of skill set. She really is one of those rare players who is capable of making things happen all by herself, and she sees things open up that others just don’t recognize.”
In Nuttall’s first year at the helm of the program, he called Boureille up to varsity as a freshman for their first-round WCAL playoff matchup against Archbishop Mitty.
Since that game, a near Irish upset that ended 2-1 in Mitty’s favor, Boureille hasn’t given up her starting spot.
“I put her in the second half of that game and it was the first time for her at that level. She transformed the game,” Nuttall said. “It’s really beautiful to watch her. She’s kind of an elegant player, but what sets her apart is how she makes everyone better.”
The Irish, currently at 6-9 overall and 1-6 in league play, need to make a considerable run for the remainder of the season to qualify for the CIF-Central Coast Section playoffs, but there’s no doubt who will be leading them for the rest of the year.
“She’s had to carry a lot of the weight for us this year,” Nuttall said. “She also has five assists though, which also leads our team. She’s the linchpin, for sure.”