Athlete Spotlight: Riley West

Riley West, captain of the women’s soccer team, has been in major preparation for her final season here at Sonoma State University and plans to give it her all.

West is a geographic, environment, and planning major that is excited to make a difference in the world. She started playing soccer at the age of five after deciding to follow in the footsteps of her older siblings. She went on to play soccer at Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks where she was able to transform herself into a collegian soccer player. West soon after became a 4-year starter here at Sonoma State University. 

Outside of practices and games West spends her time with friends, which mostly consist of her fellow teammates. She also mentioned how much she enjoys going to the beach, hiking, and overall being outdoors on her free time. 

West, like many other athletes, is very superstitious and has developed many pregame rituals. She wears her hair the exact same way for each game, listens to the same five songs, and always ends with Bohemian Rhapsody. 

Before classes started up the women’s soccer team was practicing twice a day and they have been continuing to grow and become stronger as a team. Her friend and teammate number 15 Sam Layman said, “West is a great leader and role model as Captain. She always gives 110% to the team.” 

Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams went to Europe this past summer. They traveled to Belgium, Holland, and Germany in the span of two weeks. West’s fondest memories were exploring beautiful places while getting the opportunity to play soccer with her best friends overseas; “plus the waffles were amazing.” 

West had lots of memorable experiences last season, but the one that stuck out to her most was a trip the team took to Santa Barbara during preseason. “It was an eight hour drive and the things we decided to do on the bus to entertain ourselves was really fun, you really get to know your teammates when you spend eight hours in a car together.” It was a great way for them to bond and become an even stronger unit.  

Her teammate, number 7 Madison Watts said, “this season we are able to build a circle of trust that unites us not only as a team but as an unbreakable family.” 

As a team this season West said, “I want to take it one game at a time and play our best in each game in order to make it the CCA tournament.” 

West made sure to emphasize how hard working and supportive her team has become over the past few years and credits her coach for making them such an inclusive group. “None of this would be possible without our coach pushing us everyday.”

Coach Emiria Salzmann Dunn hopes that Riley spends her last year playing soccer with joy and freedom.  Dunn said, “she and the rest of the seniors deserve to free themselves of the stress and anxiety they carry because they want to win, and to remember that this is the year when all that hard work pays off.”

When asked about West’s biggest attributions to the team Dunn answered that not only is she an incredible athlete and competitor, but that she is “one of the most selfless and humble players I have ever coached. Look out for number 14, according to Dunn, “she is a rare blend of supreme talent, intelligence, and humility.”