Five Rogers stars sign with college teams

Signing with college teams on Wednesday were (front) Devin Waters and Aliha Ballon, and (standing) Nico Salas-Velazquez, Colleen Reeves and Amber Paul, all wearing their college colors. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Wednesday was an exciting day for Rogers High School athletics as five athletes — four soccer and one football — signed with Division I or II teams.

Parents and coaches gathered for a ceremony and photo session as the five athletes formally signed. Paul Gustafson, activities director, was master of ceremonies.

Soccer coach Holly Sutton posed with three college-bound leaders of her 24-0, state championship team -- from left, Amber Paul, Aliha Ballon, and Colleen Reeves. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Three members of the unbeaten, state Class A champion girls soccer team signed with Division I programs. They were:

Amber Paul, two-time coaches association all-state midfielder with 78 career goals, signed with DePaul University of Chicago.

Aliha Ballon, two-time coaches association all-state attacker with 79 career goals, signed with North Dakota, where she’ll join her sister Rhaya.

Colleen Reeves, the defensive anchor and two-time all-conference pick, signed with University of South Dakota.

Meanwhile, Nico Salas Velazquez, the Mississippi 8 boys soccer MVP and a coaches all-stater, signed with Upper Iowa University, a D-II program. Salas Velazquez played every position and totaled 44 carer goals.

Devin Waters, 6-2, 235-pound tight end and defensive lineman on the state Class 4A runner-up football team, signed with St. Cloud State, a Division II program. A Star-Tribune all-metro pick, Waters led the Royals with nine sacks and was fourth with 79 tackles.

On hand were their coaches, Holly Sutton (girls soccer), Chris Miller (boys soccer) and Marc Franz (football).

The five Royals signing with college teams posed with their respective parents. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

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