Mia Corbin, Pro Soccer Player

Bears in the Wild: Mia Corbin, Professional Soccer Player
Posted on 03/10/2022

Some people are just made for those big moments. When the lights are brightest and all eyes are on you, there are those special individuals whose talent seems to elevate to a different level.

If you watched Mia Corbin during her Tahoma High School days on the soccer pitch, or on the softball diamond, it was obvious that she’s one of those special few.

Like many of us, Corbin was once a freshman just looking to stand out in a group – a team – and her skills with a soccer ball gave her that opportunity from the first minute… literally.

Mia Corbin action shot at Tahoma

“I was such a baby coming in,” Corbin recalled. “There was a lot of ridiculously good talent on the varsity team. I knew that was the level I wanted to be at. But I made JV my freshman year. In the first game, that whistle blew, and I scored in the first minute.”

Corbin was suiting up with the varsity team later that season.

If you’re thinking it was beginners luck, the 2016 grad showed up in the big moment again… and again.

She kicked the game-winning goal to send the varsity team to state.

“I got put in about five minutes before going into overtime against Puyallup and I scored the winning goal. My teammates all bear hugged me and it was just the best experience ever.”

On the softball field, Corbin was just as clutch. With Tahoma trailing by a handful of runs in the late innings, Corbin was expecting her high school playing days to end after a few more outs. Not wanting her parents to see how sad she would be, she told them she didn’t want them there to see the game end. They started making their way to the car, and did so just a few at-bats too soon.

With a three-run deficit and the bases loaded, the senior captain clobbered a game-winning grand slam that sent the Bears to state. It was another amazing moment on a laundry list of highlights and accomplishments for one of the best athletes in the state… and one she, of course, gave her parents a hard time about.

“They were so mad. They were like ‘you told us to leave!’ and I said, “eh, you shouldn’t listen to me.””

Corbin helped lead Tahoma to its first softball state title in program history. Her accomplishments led to well-earned individual accolades, including KING 5’s High School Athlete of the Year.

Mia Corbin accepts award from Tony Davis

Her time at Tahoma also set her on a path for a vibrant future. Her next stop? The University of California, Berkeley.

The forward led all Cal freshmen in minutes (1,234) and made the Pac-12 Conference’s All-Freshman Team. By her senior year, Corbin was a co-captain and two-time Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention student.

Corbin said her time at Tahoma gave her the confidence in the classroom to succeed at a prestigious university like Cal.

“At Tahoma, you get out what you put in,” she said. “The level of effort you give with your classes and connecting with your teachers matters. I did that a lot at Tahoma and it helped through college.”

Tahoma’s high expectations, and the lessons learned in athletics, also gave Corbin the willingness to be vulnerable.

“The more questions you ask, the better you understand something. I learned how to better communicate with professors and feel comfortable asking questions. There are no dumb questions.”

Corbin’s academic success, and her desire to join the professional ranks, helped her graduate early from Cal in 2019 in time for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) signing period. But as the story goes for so many recent graduates, COVID got in the way of her master plan.

“I got stuck,” she said. So, what now?

Soccer was clearly in Corbin’s future, but the opportunities were paused. So she returned to the place she was familiar with; the place that in her words ‘gave me everything.’ It was back to the soccer pitch at Tahoma High School.

photo of Corbin kicking a soccer ball

Coach Alyssa Hurt, who was on the sideline when Corbin kicked that first-minute goal as a freshman, didn’t hesitate to reach out when she knew a Tahoma alum with professional caliber talent was back in town.

Before long, Corbin was helping coach the boys team. By next spring, she was coaching JV and training on OL Reign’s 2021 preseason roster. As the sports world reawakened, so did her playing opportunities.

In late February 2022, Corbin signed a professional contract with Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, a first-division soccer team in Costa Rica. And in a blink of an eye, she was in Central America, gearing up to compete again.

“I had an 11 o’clock flight at night. Seattle was snowing so we were delayed an hour while they de-iced the plane… And then when I landed I got out of the car, I had my luggage, and they immediately handed me the jersey and said ‘put this on. We’re signing you right now.’

They wanted me to sign in Costa Rica for the legitimacy of everything, which was actually really cool. Then I did a video and gave an interview which I was not prepared for,” she laughed.

After the interview, the team’s manager sent Corbin on her way with a simple, “see you at 5 AM for practice.”

While there’s hopefully a long playing career ahead of her, Corbin’s supporters have already scoped out the next phase of her adventure. When asked if she’ll be a full-time coach someday, she said, “I keep getting told by other people that I’m going to be a coach. But I don’t know, we’ll see. I majored in Communications and Media Studies and took sports marketing classes that were really cool. I like the business side of sports but I also interned for the athletic department and I loved it, so I can see both sides. Coaching is definitely an open door and I’ve thought about it a lot more since coaching Tahoma soccer.”

What was it about coaching at Tahoma that grew her interest?

“The main thing was that I was comfortable with Coach Hurt. We have a great relationship. And I also think it’s important that we support female coaches in soccer. So I definitely enjoyed coming in and being a positive role model. I like being able to show girls at that age that I’m here for you and I want you to get better.”

It was a long journey for Corbin from Maple Valley to Costa Rica, with plenty of bumps in the road, but it’s what she’s been chasing for a long time.

“Not many people can say that they’ve traveled out of the country to play soccer. I would love to eventually come back and play in the U.S. to be closer to home, but for right now, this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.”

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