BY: MIMI RANGEL
Sometimes, a hero can even be a 5-foot 2-inch, 18-year-old women’s soccer player. Freshman soccer star Mimi Rangel has been nothing short of heroic for the Long Beach State women’s soccer team. Through the first part of the season, Rangel has shown a knack for delivering clutch moments in the biggest games on the 49ers schedule.
She scored game-winning goals in the 49ers’ wins against Texas Tech and Brigham Young University, who at the time were ranked 23rd and 11th in the country respectively.
“We beat Texas Tech, we beat BYU,” Rangel said, with no shortage of confidence. “We fight from the beginning to end and that’s one thing I love about this team.”
The 18-year-old midfielder started playing soccer when she was four. As a freshman at Chino Hills High, Rangel cracked the varsity roster.
“That was probably one of the proudest moments I had,” she said. “Just making varsity as a freshman, I was already proud and privileged and I felt so blessed to get that opportunity.”
Scholarship offers from schools like Tennessee and Loyola Marymount University came her way.
“I narrowed out Tennessee, then it was between Long Beach and LMU,” Rangel said. “I went to go visit both schools, and thought both schools are phenomenal. I remember walking around and seeing myself here, being able to fit in this program.”
Head coach Mauricio Ingrassia got in touch with Mimi through her club coach.
“He sent me this email because Mimi was very slight, very technical,” Ingrassia said. “I looked at it and was really intrigued. We made her an offer and she came out and watched a game, where [former All-American] Nadia Link was playing. They’re both lefty, same type of style. When Mimi saw Nadia play, she said ‘Hey, that’s how I play. I like it here, I can see myself here.’”
Just last year, Rangel made a name for herself at Chino Hills. She purchased a Batman shirt after watching The Dark Knight Rises.
“All the girls were like ‘Wear [the shirt] under your jersey,’ Rangel said. “We were playing our rivals, Clairemont, at their field. The girls told me if I scored, I had to take [my jersey] off. I ended up scoring in the second half, so I took it off and I was running around and it was great.”
Luckily for Rangel, they got to play rival teams twice.
“The second time we played them, I did it again,” she said. “This time I had spread the word around. I was telling everyone this was going to be our superhero game. I didn’t think a lot of people would, but so many people came dressed up as superheroes. I had to score again. With like 10 minutes left, I scored, took off the shirt again and everyone was going crazy.”
Rangel feels more than welcome at Long Beach; it’s her home. As for the next few years, the future seems bright for Rangel.
“With everything she’s done now, and she’s only a freshman, I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when she hits her senior year. It’s going to be incredible,” said sophomore teammate Elizabeth Lyons.
While the Batman trilogy is complete, Rangel’s soccer legacy at The Beach is just beginning.