At the beginning of the year, Erin Hoge’s mom, Jill, clicked on a Facebook ad that directed her to information about Southern Virginia University. Erin didn’t know it then, but Jill’s simple maneuver started Erin on the path toward realizing a big goal—playing soccer at the four-year level.
Hoge, an incoming senior at Sobrato High, recently committed to play for Division III program Southern Virginia University (SVU). That process started after Erin emailed the SVU coaching staff and filled out an application expressing her desire to play for the school.
“He (SVU coach Rob Dahl) called me and told me he did some research on me—I don’t know what he did—but he said he was interested in me playing for them, too,” Hoge said.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hoge has taken all the necessary steps to graduate from Sobrato early so she can attend Southern Virginia for the spring 2021 semester, in the hopes of a 2021 spring sports season. On Thursday, the NCAA made the decision to cancel all 2020 fall sports championships.
However, there is still a possibility for the fall sports teams to play games in the spring, depending on a myriad of factors. Whenever Hoge suits up for the Knights, she will have realized a goal that she only started thinking hard about from the beginning of her junior year.
“I’m excited for her in getting the opportunity to play college soccer,” Sobrato coach Miguel Gutierrez said. “I know she will tear it up at Southern Virginia University.”
Gutierrez has confidence in Hoge because she played multiple positions for a Bulldogs team that advanced to the Central Coast Section Division I championship contest on Feb. 29, two weeks before most of the country went into shutdown. Hoge’s speed, knowledge of the game and timing of her runs were a huge asset for Sobrato, as she played the outside wing positions and was seemingly always in the right place at the right time.
“That is truly something that guided the team to big wins,” Gutierrez said.
Nowhere was that more apparent than in the team’s 1-0 win over Branham in the playoff quarterfinals, the only goal of the game.
“Her work ethic and patience to become better is remarkable, and she was able to translate that to her teammates,” Gutierrez said.
Perhaps that’s what Dahl saw in Hoge, who was actually able to do a training workout under the watchful eye of Dahl in Utah in May. Hoge was in Lehi, Utah at the time visiting her cousins and asked Dahl about doing some training at Lehi High School.
“He happened to be in Utah at the time, and that was the first time he saw me play,” Hoge said. “Later in the week, he asked me to meet him for lunch and told me I had a spot on the team if I wanted it. I was surprised because during the pandemic I wasn’t able to train and thought I was a bit rusty. I was a little shocked he was still interested in me because I didn’t think that was the best I could be. But he said he saw a lot of potential in me. I’m really excited to keep on improving and becoming the best player I can be.”
Hoge was supposed to take a physical tour of the SVU campus in October. However, those plans got scrapped due to the virus. Instead, with Dahl playing the narrator, Hoge did a virtual FaceTime tour of the SVU campus and liked what she saw.
“I thought Southern Virginia would be the perfect fit for me,” she said.