BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – CSU Bakersfield’s women’s soccer program continues to reach new heights and push its standard of success to a new level each year. This weekend, the Roadrunners will add another rung to the ladder as the program bids farewell to former goalkeeper and current graduate assistant coach, Tori Ornela, who has signed the first professional contract by a ‘Runner in CSUB’s Division I history.
Ornela will join Haukar of the Icelandic Premier League for the upcoming season after signing a contract with the team. The club, based out of Hafnarfjörður, Iceland, was promoted to the country’s top league, Úrvalsdeild, after exceling during the 2016 season in Iceland’s second tier of soccer.
“I got involved with Haukar by attending the Pro Soccer Consulting winter combine in December,” Ornela said. “PSC has been a massive help in achieving my goal to continue my playing career. I must give special thanks to the director, Simon Deeley, for helping and guiding me through this whole process.”
Ornela went on to describe what signing the contract means to her: “I am excited for this opportunity to play professional soccer. All the hard work and dedication to obtain the chance to play is a dream come true. I couldn’t have done it without the support from Gary, Clifton, and my family. This is just the first step into, hopefully, a bright future. There is still more hard work to be done and I am looking forward to competing in Iceland.”
Ornela enjoyed one of the most prolific careers in CSUB history, playing goalkeeper for the ‘Runners from 2012-15. The native of Lemoore, Calif. concluded her stint with CSUB as the program’s all-time leader in saves (368) and graduated with the seventh-most saves among all NCAA Division I active keepers. Ornela also reset the ‘Runner Division I record for saves in a season (111) and contributed a goal and an assist while playing goalie as a senior.
After her outstanding collegiate career, Ornela spent the summer of 2016 competing in the Women’s Premier Soccer League. She was the goalkeeper for FC Indiana and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
Ornela returned to Bakersfield this past fall to assist coaches Gary Curneen and Clifton Bush as the team’s graduate assistant coach. The squad continued to excel as Ornela helped guide the ‘Runners to its best finish in Western Athletic Conference play (2nd) in school history and reset the CSUB Division I single-season wins record with eight.
Ornela and Haukar’s season in the IPL runs from the end of April through the end of September. The league features Iceland’s top ten professional women’s teams, which all play a double round robin while the team with the most points at the end of the season is crowned the IPL Champion. That squad earns the right to represent the league in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, competing against the best teams in the world.