Gladstone's Josie Landrus accepted an offer to continue her soccer career at the junior college level, playing for Yakima Valley College Yaks of the Northwest Athletic Association.
Landrus, an attacking midfielder, had been in talks with Yakima Valley for more than a year before making her decision official during a Jan. 17 signing ceremony with family, friends, teammates, and Yaks coach Abigail Drollinger.
"I don't think it still has hit me yet that I get t continue playing the sport that I love for two more years," Landrus said. "It means the world to me. It's awesome.
"It's almost mind-blowing that I'm one of the few that gets to go from high school sports into collegiate sports."
Landrus has been playing soccer since she was in kindergarten, breaking into the sport with a recreational team in Milwaukie.
She quickly moved up to the club circuit and had stints with Lake Oswego United, Clackamas United, Eastside Timbers, and her current club team, Oregon Premiere.
She also worked closely with personal trainer Wayne Hodges, the former St. Mary's Academy coach, who helped guide her through the latter stages of the recruiting process.
Landrus said Yakima Valley first contacted her during the fall of her junior year.
"They found me off a recruiting profile that I created for one of my club teams, and then they found my Instagram off of that and started contacting me through that," she said. "Then Coach Drollinger watched me play in a couple of tournaments and things got solidified over the next year or so."
Landrus went to Yakima for a prospects camp last spring, which helped confirm that Yakima Valley would be a nice fit.
"It's small enough that it's somewhat similar to Gladstone," Landrus said. "And I can adapt pretty well to new surroundings, so I think it will be good to have a change of scenery."
Landrus made Gladstone's varsity squad as a freshman and played a key role in one of the most successful four-year runs in program history.
During the stretch, the Gladiators compiled a 47-17-3 record overall and went 36-2-2 in Tri-Valley Conference plays. They clinched the league championship outright each of the past two seasons and finished as league co-champions in 2016.
This fall, the top-ranked Gladiators went 10-0 in league play and finished 14-2 overall after they were upset 2-0 in Class 4A quarterfinals to Woodburn, which went on to win the state title.
"Making varsity as a freshman was very big to me," Landrus said. "And there were many positive steps that entire year. When my class came in, we just wanted to better the program and I really think it worked.
"This past season, we were ranked No. 1, and even though it didn't end as well as we wanted it to, we all worked very hard to achieve that. And it wasn't just one or two people that made that happen. It was the entire team.
"Everyone came out every day and worked hard because we all wanted the same goal."
Landrus plans to major in kinesiology and hopes to pursue a career as an athletic trainer. She plans to do two years of prerequisite classes at Yakima Valley before transferring to a four-year school to finish up her degree.
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