SoccerWire is publishing Q&A articles with recently-committed players who have Featured Profiles in the SoccerWire Recruiting Directory. The series allows players to share their stories on the college recruiting process, travel and high school soccer, and their passion for the beautiful game.

In this edition we will showcase Skyler Ortega, who has verbally committed to play NCAA Division I soccer in 2025 at Merrimack. Ortega plays travel soccer in the ECNL Girls for Arizona Arsenal.

Skyler Ortega


In addition to her club exploits, Ortega plays high school soccer at Notre Dame Preparatory School where she has won a State Championship.

SoccerWire: What made you decide to verbally commit to Merrimack?
Skyler Ortega: After I spoke with Head Coach Mejail and I visited with the team, I knew right away that Merrimack was my best fit academically, athletically, and personally. Coach Mejail’s winning history includes being conference winners to 11 NCAA tournament appearances. I want to have a playing impact in the Northeast while living close to Boston and having four seasons, and Merrimack checked all my boxes.

SW: How does their style of play fit your skillset?
SO: Merrimack often plays in a 4-3-3 with counter attacking outside backs. I enjoy defensive wins with quick, up field ball distribution while being a box-to-box defender, so Merrimack’s style of play was exactly the style I had been searching for in teams.

SW: What are you interested in studying at Merrimack?
SO: I am interested in a STEM major with a minor in Sports Management. I am considering law school after college with a focus on either STEM corporate law or being a professional sport team’s attorney.

SW: Outside of soccer, are you involved in any clubs or organizations (For example: National Honors Society, French Club, working a job, etc.)?
SO: Yes, I am an active member of our National Honors Society and our high school choir. I had the honor of representing my high school at the Choir Nationals while performing at the Lincoln Center in NYC in March 2024. I then took a red eye flight to California to play in our ECNL Battle of Southwest games the next morning.

SW: Growing up, who was your favorite soccer player?
SO: My favorite soccer players are Amy Rodriguez, Cali Farquharson, and Crystal Dunn. I had the opportunity to train with ARod when she played for the Utah Royals, and Cali has been one of my trainers for the last 5 years. I have always admired Crystal Dunn’s versatility and dominance and loved watching her play.

SW: What’s your favorite defensive play that you have ever made?
SO: It’s always a team effort. My favorite defensive play was in our Notre Dame Prep State championship game when I intercepted a ball and made our opening goal from about 25 yards out to help us win the AZ 5A state championship.

SW: Do you have a favorite pair of soccer cleats?
SO: They are my Teal Nike Phantom Lunas, and I still wear them despite multiple tears in them. They still fit perfectly, so I don’t want to get rid of them.

SW: What has been your experience like playing with Arizona Arsenal?
SO: I was a multi-sport athlete playing soccer, lacrosse, flag football, and softball. I realized I wanted to play soccer in college, and two of my youth soccer coaches, Coaches Paul Lester and Connor Blakely, helped my development and gave me insight on pathways to reach my goals. I tried out for Arizona Arsenal’s ECNL team two years ago, and I fell in love with my teammates and Arsenal’s “Bleed Teal” charge. My ECNL Coach, Lindsey Johnson, and our executive director, David Belfort, have been super supportive both on and off the field. Our Arsenal facilities at the Arizona Athletics Grounds are some of the best in the country including amazing fields, indoor courts, and training facilities, so we love it.

SW: If you could give one piece of advice to a younger player who wants to be a defender what would it be?
SO: Be confident in your abilities and train hard while also following good nutrition and recovery habits. Be resilient through the tough times, have strong faith, and remain focused on your goals. You are not alone and surround yourself with positive people including family and friends that believe in you.

SW: Is there anyone that you would like to give a shoutout to who has helped you in your career?
SO: I thank my parents, two brothers, and my family for supporting me. I thank my mom for always helping me with everything, being my mama bear, driving me around for so many years, and being my role model. I thank my dad for teaching me the importance of our faith, teaching me how to train in the gym (5 am club) and on the field, watching game film with me, and working on my soccer highlights.

I thank my high school coach, Michael Varela, for believing in me, always encouraging my best play, and appointing me as one of our senior captains. I thank George Nahorski from Striker Elite for teaching me the importance of being a defender that can strike the ball impactfully and being able to score goals. I thank my teammates and my best friend, Georgia, for sticking by me during the storms and being positive all the time.