Tejada Inducted to Percy Family Hall of Fame
Written by Jose Sandoval on October 18, 2021
Photo Courtesy of @Redbird_Soccer
NORMAL, Ill.- The Illinois State Athletics Percy Family Hall of Fame enshrined its 49th class inside the Brown Ballroom at the Bone Student Center on Saturday, October 16.
Among those inducted was former Redbirds soccer player Rachel Tejada who was a part of the program from 2011 to 2014 and helped the Redbirds win four-consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances.
Tejada expands on what it means to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“It’s a huge honor,” said Tejada. “Illinois State is a great university. Being back here reminds me of what a great decision I made coming here and being a part of this program.”
Tejada still holds Missouri Valley Conference records for goals (74), assists (42) and points (190) while also owning single-season records for goals (21 in 2011) and points (54 in 2014). She was also named a four-time All-MVC First Team selection and was a four-time all-tournament team member while being the only player in Missouri Valley Conference history to be named Conference Player of the Year four times.
Tejada credits her Redbird family for the success she has had.
“First and foremost, credit to Drew and the coaching staff and obviously my teammates,” said Tejada. “Without them none of this would’ve been possible and we wouldn’t be here this weekend celebrating the hall of fame. Being a part of this program has been truly special and I look forward to coming back many years after this and celebrating Illinois State soccer.”
Besides her many record holding accomplishments, Tejada will always be fond of the memories she created during her time at Illinois State.
“Being around my teammates and winning championships,” said Tejada. “Obviously I came here to win and that’s what we did. It’s been awesome to come back and to be on campus and see other alumni. I wish we could’ve had more people out here today but what a great university, what a great soccer program we have here, and I look forward to more.”
Tejada’s story career at Illinois State earned her the opportunity to hear her name called during the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League Draft as she was drafted by the Chicago Red Stars in the fourth round with the 32nd pick.
She became the first Redbird to be drafted in the NWSL followed by Kate Del Fava (2016-2019) who was drafted 12th overall last January by the Utah Royals FC. Tejada elaborates on what it means to be drafted despite playing at a school where the program is smaller compared to other conferences.
“I think we’ve proven we’re a competitive school even though we’re not in the Big Ten, Big 12, all the bigger conferences,” said Tejada. “We compete at a high level and obviously there’s been great players who come here and proven their success. I don’t think you have to go to a big school to be in the NWSL. There’s been several players not just from Illinois State but from smaller conferences and smaller schools that have gone on and played and been successful in the NWSL. Like I said, I don’t think you need to go to one of those big schools to make that next step.”