Freshman Rigamat makes teammates, family proud

As the youngest in a family of athletes, women’s soccer midfielder Rachel Rigamat is always competing with her four siblings for notoriety.

Rigamat, a freshman from La Crescenta, Calif., was named the player of the week after her two goal performance led the Hurricanes to a 3-0 upset over No. 14 Princeton in the 2005 Miami Tournament.

The victory marks the Hurricanes’ first over a ranked opponent since 2003, when they beat No. 10 UConn.

However, Rigamat said that being from such a dynamic family of athletes has taught her to give credit where it’s due.

“Being individually recognized was exciting and a huge honor, but the whole team played well and the team really deserves this award,” Rigamat said. “We upset a very good club in Princeton and should be acknowledged for that.”

One of the most important influences in Rigamat’s life is her sister, Stephanie, who originally got Rigamat into soccer when they were kids in the backyard. Stephanie was also a standout soccer player at Irvine University and UCLA and now coaches at UNLV.

“[Stephanie] was a huge influence on my soccer career,” Rigamat said. “My parents were really strict on all of us, so I was just more into soccer growing up and we would play for hours together.”

Rigamat went on to become a four-year letter winner in track and field, breaking the 400-meter record at Crescenta Valley High School.

The climate, unique campus environment and soccer program drew Rigamat to UM without hesitation.

“I knew when I went to college I always wanted to play soccer,” Rigamat said. “So when I first visited UM I loved the campus instantly, and the coaches were great, the girls were really nice and I just enjoyed the overall experience and atmosphere here.”

Currently, Rigamat, who has not declared a major, takes classes in children’s education. One day she hopes to work with children as a counselor.

In the meantime, Rigamat continues to adjust to college life and soccer in the ACC.

“It is much different game, much faster, much more aggressive and everyone is a lot stronger,” Rigamat said. “Coming in as a freshman, I think everybody is a little bit intimidated by the ACC schedule. Fortunately, I was more intimidated about fitting in with my team when I came in than playing against anyone else.”

Mike Holt can be contacted at