After four years of success together as Sherman Bearcats and dating back to coming up through the youth soccer ranks, Joel Nandin and Edgar Ramirez felt it only made sense for them to continue playing the sport they love at the next level on the same squad.

It seemed like an easy choice for the duo after anchoring the Sherman defense these past few seasons.

“We both play defense so we’re always playing next to each other,” Ramirez said. “We’ve been to every visit together. We were a package deal and coaches knew if they were recruiting one of us then they were recruiting both of us.”

That is why Nandin and Ramirez signed their letters of intent to play soccer for Northern Oklahoma College on Tuesday morning.

“We were a little discouraged because we wanted to sign in December as part of Signing Day,” Ramirez said. “We started taking it serious around sophomore year to play in college. You have to have that drive to play college soccer.”

They chose the junior college program over Hardin-Simmons and Northeastern State University and walk-on opportunities at other schools.

“We had a showcase tournament and did well and the coach came and talked to us about playing for him,” Nandin said. “We like it when we went and visited and we could see ourselves going there. We took about a week to decide that it was a good fit.”

Nandin is slated at right back and Ramirez will be at center back.

Both players earned first-team all-district accolades in helping Sherman place fourth in the 10-5A standings and a second playoff appearance in three seasons after falling short in 2018.

The Bearcats had an unfortunate draw in the bi-district round, losing against two-time defending 5A state champion Frisco Wakeland, which returned to the title match before losing to El Paso Bel Air.

Nandin, who also served as kicker and punter for the football program, had chances to continue in that sport at the next level as well.

“It was a tough decision,” he said. “I had opportunities but soccer was the one I knew I really wanted to continue playing.”

Northern Oklahoma College, which is located in Enid, went 10-6-2 this past season and 6-1-1 in the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges Conference, finishing as the region runner-up against Rose State. In the past 22 years the program has 15 Region 2 championships and a pair of National Tournament appearances in 2003 and 2006, including a Final Four berth in 2003.

The Mavericks also signed Anna’s Gavin Reno as part of this recruiting class and former Sherman standout Austin White just finished up his career as a defender for Northern Oklahoma.

“Coach said he has only eight players returning so there’s three spots someone new is going to be able to come right in and play,” Ramirez said. “They’re used to winning and playing in the NJCAA Tournament and hopefully we can help continue that in our two years there.”