For college athletes away from home, chances to play in front of their parents are usually few and far between. Coco Navarro got that chance on Sunday against Drake, and had the best game of his short Marquette career thus far.
The freshman striker played 76 minutes against the Bulldogs, netted a goal and added two assists for a four-point game. Navarro said he’s been adjusting to the college game and that’s been helping him produce results.
“I’m adapting to the team,” Navarro said. “I still have to work on a few things but I feel like I’m getting into the team, the rhythm, so I’m happy.”
Navarro said he was more excited about his family being in the crowd though. His mother, Lupe, and father, Jose, flew up from Arizona to see him play.
“It’s great seeing family,” Navarro said. “It’s the best thing.”
His parents were excited to see him too. Lupe Navarro said she had been waiting for that game for a long time.
“(I’m) very proud,” she said. “When he was younger I would ask myself, ‘OK, when am I going to see my son play when he’s older?’ and now he’s in college, and we get to see him play.”
Navarro was born and grew up in Inglewood, Calif. The family moved to Arizona when Navarro was accepted into the Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy, a youth major league soccer team. He played for the team for three years, and was even called up to the Real Salt Lake Reserves for five games, during which he scored one goal.
Navarro said the experience playing for Real Salt Lake was great for making the transition to the college game.
“It’s a lot like college,” Navarro said. “College is obviously a little faster, stronger, so I have to adapt to that as well. Real Salt Lake was a great experience to get me ready for college.”
His parents said having him move was hard, but they were happy when he made the decision.
“It’s a little bit hard, but I always tell him we support him and as long as he is happy with what he’s doing, we’re with him,” Lupe Navarro said.
Navarro ranked as the No. 38 recruit in the nation, the highest ranked commit Marquette has ever signed. He was also named one of the Top-10 Freshman to know by TopDrawerSoccer.com. Navarro said it was a long process to decide where to play, but Marquette was the best choice for him.
“It was a long process but (Marquette) was the first school to start talking to me,” Navarro said. “I had a bunch of options. But just from the start, the coaches on my visit, everyone was so nice and respectful, and I was raised being humble and respectful. I thought this would be the best fit for me.”
Navarro said Marquette was the right choice. He has started every game this season and could be the only player to start every game during his freshman season in Marquette history. He’s tied with C. Nortey for the team’s highest scorer with six points this season. But for Navarro, the thing he’s the most proud of is being able to go by his father’s nickname.
“I used to be ‘Coquito’ but when I got older, I was ‘Coco’ like my dad,” Navarro said. “I’m proud I’m able to take my dad’s name.”