Death of Athlete Jasmine Cornejo Saddens Artesia High School, Cerritos College Soccer Programs

Jasmine Cornejo

Jasmine Cornejo

By Loren Kopff

 Former Artesia High School and Cerritos College soccer star Jasmine Cornejo passed away on August 3 due to complications of a seizure from the previous day. Cornejo, who had just turned 20 years old last month, was set to start the next chapter of her life at California Polytechnic Pomona on Monday.

According to Cornejo’s mother, Rosario Vazquez, through the help of translator Heber Porras, Cornejo went to Anaheim Western Memorial Hospital the evening of July 30 complaining of a headache and stomach ache. Porras, an uncle to Cornejo, said Vazquez received a phone call from the hospital as well as Cornejo’s boyfriend that evening. Cornejo immediately went into a coma and never came out of it.

Cornejo was a major fixture of Artesia soccer for three years and helped build the program to respectability after numerous years of finishing in the bottom half of the Suburban League. Cornejo spent the last two years at Cerritos College and helped the Falcons win back to back state championships.

After attending Millikan High School her freshman year, Cornejo transferred to Artesia and immediately made a presence on the field, scoring 24 goals, the most by any Artesia sophomore. She scored the first of those 24 goals on Dec. 8, 2009 and scored in the next three games after that. Four days after scoring her first goal, Cornejo notched a hat trick against Pioneer in a Bellflower Tournament game and another one on Feb. 11, 2010 against John Glenn. As a sophomore, Cornejo had nine multiple scoring games and was the Los Cerritos Community News Co-Player of the Year.

The next season, Cornejo posted 29 goals, the most by any Artesia junior and again was the LCCN Co-Player of the Year as well as the Suburban League’s Offensive Most Valuable Player. She scored at least two goals in 10 games and had hat tricks in four league games. She helped the Pioneers to an 18-5-1 season and the team posted a 10-2-0 league mark, the best in school history.

As a senior, Cornejo scored another 24 goals and left as the school’s all-time career scoring leader. She was the LCCN’s Player of the Year as she had seven multiple scoring games that season. During her three seasons at Artesia, the Pioneers went 46-23-3, the second-best three-year mark in school history.

“She was just a very fierce competitor,” said Octavio Marquez, head coach of the girls soccer team at Artesia and an assistant at Cerritos College. “All of these accomplishments show what type of player she was and what impact she had for Artesia High School.”

Cornejo was an outside defender at Cerritos College and although she didn’t score a lot of goals, she was an integral part of the back to back state championships. Marquez said he first found out about Cornejo being hospitalized on Aug. 2 when one of his college players called him and said that she had a bad accident. The player couldn’t go into details because she did not know exactly what had happened to Cornejo. Marquez, who came back from vacation on Aug. 6, said that initially he was shocked and thought he was having a bad dream.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I was just devastated. She was a young girl full of energy. Obviously she played for me at the high school and the college and anytime you have a long relationship like that, these girls become more than just a soccer player. For me, Jasmine was more like a daughter because we were so close and she accomplished so many things in such a short time.”

Cornejo, who also played club soccer for the Hawaiian Gardens Eagles, was loved by many off the field as well as on the field. Porras said that Cornejo liked the Spanish soap opera “Rebelde”, which was her favorite. He added that she would get romantic during the love scenes.

“She loved to eat a lot,” Vasquez said. “She loved to watch television and spend some time with her family. She also used to spend a lot of time with her friends in the pool. A lot of people didn’t know that.”

“She was just very, very outgoing and if you talked to anybody [who knew her], every time you saw her on or off the field, she always had a smile on her face,” Marquez said. “She was always happy and always willing to help. She was just very loving and very caring.”

In one week, $2,500 has been raised through GoFundMe.com to help the family with the cost of the funeral. A viewing took place on Aug. 14 with the burial to take place on Saturday at Forest Lawn in Long Beach.

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