Three South County alumni lead UCLA to No. 1 national ranking


Aaliyah Jordan played four varsity seasons with the Bonita Vista High School softball team, earning four All-CIF First Team nominations. Photo by Phillip Brents

The Mater Dei Catholic and Bonita Vista high school softball teams have consistently battled for the Mesa League championship the past several seasons.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that alumni from the two battle-hardened teams have gone on to excel at the next level, and in the case of three players, excel in a major way.

Bonita Vista alumna Aaliyah Jordan and Mater Dei Catholic grads Lexi Sosa and Alyssa Garcia were all members of this spring’s No. 1 nationally-ranked UCLA softball team.

Jordan, a redshirt junior, led the Lady Bruins (25-1) with a .435 hitting average in 26 games with 13 doubles, two home runs 27 RBI, a .552 on-base percentage and a .710 slugging percentage.

The 2016 BVHS grad earned NFCA All-West Region Second Team and All-Pac-12 First Team honors in 2019 while leading UCLA with 20 doubles, ranking second with 13 home runs, 61 RBI, a .711 slugging percentage and a .467 on-base percentage. She tied for second with 28 walks and tied for third with a .383 batting average, adding 42 runs scored.

Jordan finished tied for 10th nationally in doubles.

Jordan earned the June 2019 Star of the Month award by the San Diego Sports Association after leading the Lady Bruins with a .571 hitting average and three home runs at the Women’s College World Series to help UCLA capture its 13th national championship by sweeping Oklahoma.

Jordan drove in six runs, scored six runs and walked six times while recording a 1.286 slugging percentage and a .714 on-base percentage in five wins.

She made her freshman debut in nothing short of a star-studded season where she garnered First Team NFCA All-American, First Team NFCA All-Region, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Pac-12 batting champion, All-Pac-12 First Team, Pac-12 All-Freshman Team and a Top 10 finalist for the NFCA FOY and USA Softball Player of the Year awards.

Jordan, who utilized a redshirt season at UCLA in 2017 following a knee injury, set the table for a standout college career as a four-year center fielder at Bonita Vista where she was a four-time All-CIF honoree.

She played in 107 games over her career with the Lady Barons, finishing with a .439 hitting average, .552 on-base percentage, 130 hits, 100 RBI and 103 runs scored.

She stole 25 bases in 28 attempts while collecting 34 doubles, 10 triples and 17 home runs.

Her biggest year at the plate came in 2015 when she batted .486. It was the third consecutive year she finished with higher than a .400 hitting average.

She made a splash as a freshman with a .444 batting average, seven home runs and 42 RBI in 28 games.

She came back as a sophomore to hit .475 with four home runs and 21 RBI in 26 games.

She collected 21 RBI as a junior and hit .369 as a senior with four home runs and 16 RBI.

Bonita Vista was in the thick of the championship race each of Jordan’s four years at the school.

The Lady Barons finished runner-up to Rancho Bernardo in the 2013 San Diego Section Division II finals and to Carlsbad in the 2014 San Diego Section Open Division championship game.

The 2016 Bonita Vista team finished 20-9 after posting a 21-5-1 record in 2015. The team finished 20-7 in 20914 following a 23-5-1 showing in 2013.

Sosa and Garcia joined a juggernaut UCLA team this season.

Sosa, who recorded a .410 hitting average, 100 RBI, 46-10 pitching record with a 1.62 earned-run average and 489 strikeouts in 406 innings during a celebrated four-year career at Mater Dei Catholic, compiled a 4-0 record with a 1.50 ERA in nine appearances this spring while pitching a perfect game against Boston University on March 7.

Sosa earned honors as the 2019 San Diego Section Player of the Yeas as ther Lady Crusaders captured the Open Division championship. She went 24-2 in the pitching circle with a 1.07 ERA and 237 strikeouts in 177.1 innings while hitting .462 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI as a senior.

Garcia hit .354 with nine RBI in 20 games as a freshman after earning Mesa League Player of the Year honors and First Team All-CIF honors as a senior at Mater Dei Catholic. Garcia hit .519 with five home runs, 32 RBI and 14 doubles in 2019.

She was the Lady Crusaders’ best offensive player all four years as a prep, finishing with a .456 career hitting average and 92 RBI. Additional honors included 2019 MaxPreps High School All-American and All-California State.

During her stay at Mater Dei Catholic, the Lady Crusaders reeled off three consecutive league championships.


Keoni Cavaco capped his Eastlake HIgh School career with an Open Division championship. Photo by Phillip Brents


Keoni Cavaco (Eastlake, 2019): Drafted by Minnesota Twins (first round, 2019), last played with GCL Twins in 2019 Gulf Coast League (rookie level)

Julian Escobedo (Eastlake, 2016): Drafted by Cleveland Indians (17th round, 2019) from San Diego State University, last played with Mahoney Valley in 2019 New York-Penn League (A level)

Daniel Schneeman (Bonita Vista, 2015): Drafted by the Cleveland Indians (33rd round, 2018) from Brigham Young University, last played with Lake County Captains in 2019 Midwest League (A level)

Dean Nevarez (Eastlake, 2015): Drafted by Seattle Mariners (19th round, 2018) from San Diego State University, last played with Everett in 2019 Northwest League (A level)

Eduardo Alvarez (Otay Ranch, 2014): 2018 spring training assignment with Los Angeles Dodgers, last played with 2018 Union Laguna (Mexican League)

Adrian Tovalin (Otay Ranch, 2014): Drafted by the Houston Astros (16th round, 2017) by the Houston Astros from Azusa Pacific University, last played with 2019 Olmecos de Tabasco (Mexican League)

Matthew Ball (Bonita Vista, 2013): Drafted by the Chicago White Sox (11th round, 2013), played with Bristol in 2013 Appalachian League (rookie level), played with Great Falls in 2014-15 Pioneer League (rookie level), played with Kannapolis and Hickory in 2016-17 South Atlantic League (A level), played with Mobile in 2018-19 Southern League (AA level), played with Inland Empire in 2018 California League (A level), played with Salt Lake in 2019 Pacific Coast League (AAA), invited to 2020 spring training with Los Angeles Angels, assigned to minor league camp

Troy Cruz (Bonita Vista, 2012): Played four years at UC San Diego (2013-17), played for 2019-20 Morley Eagles (Western Australia)

Cody Poteet (Christian, 2012): Drafted by Miami Marlins (fourth round, 2015) from UCLA, last played with Aguilas in 2019-20 Dominican Winter League

Greg Allen (Hilltop, 2011): Drafted by the Cleveland Indians (sixth round, 2014) from San Diego State University, currently in Major League Baseball with Cleveland (2017-20)

Daniel Camarena (Cathedral Catholic, 2011): Drafted by the New York Yankees (20th round, 2011), last played with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2019 International League (AAA level)

Oscar Sanay (Bonita Vista, 2010): Played two years at CSU Bakersfield (2013-14), played for teams in the Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League in 2014 (rookie level), played for Hudson Valley in 2015 New York-Penn League (A level), played for three teams in the Mexican League 2016-19, last played for 2019 Acereros de Monclova (Mexican League)


Luq Barcoo (Castle Park, 2016):
Signed in 2020 with the Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL), attended San Diego State University

Nico Siragusa (Mater Dei Catholic, 2012): Drafted in 2017 by the Baltimore Ravens (NFL), played in 2020 with the Los Angeles Wildcats (XFL), attended San Diego State University

Luis Perez (Otay Ranch, 2012): Signed in 2018 by the Los Angeles Rams (NFL), played in 2019 with the Birmingham Iron (AAF), played in 2020 with the New York Guardians (XFL), attended Southwestern College

Tony Jefferson (Eastlake, 2010): Signed in 2013 with the Arizona Cardinals (NFL), signed in 2017 with the Baltimore Ravens (NFL), current free agent, attended University of Oklahoma

Jason Myers (Mater Dei Catholic, 2009): Signed in 2015 with the Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL), signed in 2018 with the New York Jets (NFL), currently with the Seattle Seahawks (NFL), attended Marist College

Alex Smith (Helix, 2002): Signed in 2005 with the San Francisco 49ers, signed in 2013 with the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL), currently with the Washington Redskins (NFL), attended University of Utah


Hannah Flippen (Bonita Vista, 2013): Scrap Yards Dawgs (2017-present), USA national softball team 2017, University of Utah (2014-17), Pac-12 Player of the Year, National Pro Fastpitch 2017 champion, All-NPF team 2019


Paul Arriola (Mater Dei Catholic): Tijuana Xolos (2013-17 Liga MX), DC United (2017-present MLS), USA-U17 (2010-11), USA-U18 (2012), USA-U20 (2014-15), USA-U23 (2016), USMNT (2016-present)

Joe Corona (Sweetwater, 2008): Tijuana Xolos (2010-19 Liga MX), Veracruz (2015 Liga MX), Sinaloa (2016 Ascenso MX), Club America (2018 Liga MX), L.A. Galaxy (2019-present MLS), Mexico U22 (2011), USA U23 (2012), USMNT (2012-present), USA-U17 (2010-11), USA-U18 (2012), USA-U20 (2013), USA-U23 (2015)

Alejandro Guido (Mater Dei Catholic): Tijuana Xolos (2012-19 Liga MX), Dorados (2013-14 Asensco MX), Los Angeles FC (2019-present MLS)

Ramon Martin del Campo (Bonita Vista, 2011): Puerto Rico FC (2016 NASL), Ottawa Fury (2017 NASL), Fresno FC (2018-19 USL), Las Vegas Lights (2020 USL)


Mar Vista High School alumnus Bryce Heber (9) led Southwestern College’s men’s water polo team in scoring with 103 goals during the 2019 fall season. Photo by Phillip Brents

Playing locally …


Southwestern College

Fall Sports


  • Paul Thompson (Olympian) FR/WR
  • Will Havrid (Grossmont) SO/DB
  • Brad Jeremiah (Christian) FR/QB
  • Isaac Wright (St. Augustine) SO/DB
  • Atoatasi Fox (Bonita Vista) SO/DB
  • Terry Wright (St. Augustine) FR/WR
  • Robert Wright (Madison) SO/DB
  • Trevion Davies (Olympian) FR/RB
  • Ubaldo Torres (Chula Vista) SO/DL
  • Andrew Domingo (Olympian) FR/P
  • Emeka Anyanwu (Westview) FR/DB
  • Robert Gutierrez-Mendoza (Olympian) FR/QB
  • Isaiah Cruz (Mater Dei Catholic) FR/WR
  • Kameron Tiumalu (Helix) SO/WR
  • Deandre Daniels (St. Augustine) SO/RB
  • Arnold Escano (Olympian) FR/DB
  • Lorenzo Perry (Bonita Vista) FR/DB
  • Robert Golden (Lincoln) FR/DB
  • Josh McCurty (Eastlake) FR/LB
  • Devin Brown (Morse) FR/LB
  • Albert Robinson (Olympian) FR/RB
  • Joel Torres (Castle Park) FR/WR
  • Cesar Macias (Mar Vista) FR/K-P
  • Michael Mays (Bonita Vista) OL/FR
  • Gregory Melendez (San Ysidro) FR/OL
  • Cris Lira (San Ysidro) SO/OL
  • Gabriel Preciado (Mar Vista) SO/OL
  • Cain Needham-Quinones (Helix) FR/OL
  • Thomas Magnum (Grossmont) FR/WR
  • Rayvon Benson (Morse) FR/WR
  • Tysheid Dixon (Serra) SO/WR
  • Desmond Carter (Grossmont) FR/WR
  • Andrew Schasa (Lincoln) SO/DL
  • Sebastian Medina (San Ysidro) FR/DL
  • Dino Del Fiero (Eastlake) FR/K
  • Justin McElligott (Granite Hills) FR/K-P


Men’s soccer

  • Ivan Lopez (Olympian) FR/MID
  • Richard Cisneros (Montgomery) FR/MID
  • Anthony Mendoza (Otay Ranch) FR/MID
  • Angel Ricardo Patino (Montgomery) FR/DEF
  • Jose Duran (Southwest) FR/MID
  • Kyo Adachi (Chula Vista) SO/MID
  • Kenneth Centella (Mar Vista) FR/FOR
  • Jose Sanchez (Preuss) SO/MID
  • Adrian Reyes (Eastlake) FR/MID
  • Edwin Ramirez (Southwest) FR/MID
  • Abraham Negrete (San Ysidro) SO/DEF
  • Diego Nuñez (Preparatoria Inn.) FR/DEF
  • Jonathan Landis (Ocean View Christian Academy) FR/MID
  • Andres Corona (Mt. Miguel) SO/DEF
  • Francisco Moreno (I High Virtual) FR/MID
  • Austin Fraga (Otay Ranch) FR/MID
  • Juventino Garcia Lopez (O’Farrell Charter) SO/MID
  • Hayden Segovia (University City) FR/FOR
  • Luis Sanchez (Otay Ranch) FR/DEF
  • Jose Trujillo (San Ysidro) FR/MID
  • Juan Torres (Chula Vista) FR/DEF
  • Sergio Alarid (Southwest) FR/MID
  • Leonardo Gomez (Montgomery) FR/GK
  • Jonathan Ledon (Preuss) FR/GK


Women’s soccer

  • Sharon Montoya (Castle Park) SO/GK
  • Brianna Sanchez (Mar Vista) SO/M-F
  • Linda Herrera (Chula Vista) FR/MID
  • Isabella Rocha (Eastlake) FR/DEF
  • Myah Montoya (Bonita Vista) FR/D-M
  • Ashley Arias (Hilltop) FR/MID
  • Janneth Barajas (Castle Park) FR/FOR
  • Priscilla Betancourt (Chula Vista) FR/DEF
  • Alondra Osuna (Otay Ranch) SO/MID
  • Michelle Posada (Chula Vista) FR/DEF
  • Andrea Reyes (Otay Ranch) FR/FOR
  • Alejandra Jimenez (Otay Ranch) FR/DEF
  • Karla Garcia (Montgomery) SO/DEF
  • Alexis Gonzalez (Otay Ranch) FR/MID
  • Norma Kascinta (Hilltop) FR/DEF
  • Paradise Kinsey (Southwest) FR/FOR
  • Jasmyn Brown (Southwest) FR/FR
  • Claudia Nirmal (Bonita Vista) FR/DEF


Men’s water polo

  • Dionicio Saucedo (Mater Dei Catholic) FR/G
  • Jared Fuentes (Castle Park) FR/Driv
  • Jorge Clayton (Castle Park) FR/Driv
  • Jacob Johnston (Eastlake) FR/2MD
  • Andy Becerra (Hilltop) SO/Driv
  • Jordan Brown (Otay Ranch) FR/Driv
  • Jose Nobles (Otay Ranch) FR/Driv
  • Jorge Salinas (Bonita Vista) SO/2MO
  • Bryce Heber (Mar Vista) FR/Driv
  • Francisco Espinoza (Eastlake) FR/2MD
  • Jeremy Longworth (Mar Vista) FR/Driv
  • Rodrigo Perez (Hilltop) FR/2MD
  • Alexander Uribe (La Jolla) SO/G
Hilltop High School alumna Caitlin Torres ranked third on Southwestern College’s women’s water polo team with 22 goals and 17 assists during the 2019 fall season. Photo by Phillip Brents

Women’s water polo

  • Odette Ortega (Eastlake) SO/G
  • Alma Castillo (Eastlake) FR/Driv
  • Jazmin Glaman (Eastlake) SO/Driv
  • Daniela Diaz (Hilltop) FR/UT
  • Savannah Collum (Hilltop) FR/Driv
  • Tess Johnson (Eastlake) FR/UT
  • Julissa Diaz (Eastlake) FR/UT
  • Caitlin Torres (Hilltop) SO/UT
  • Brianna Jones (Eastlake) Fr/Driv
  • Mia Morey (Hilltop) FR/Driv
  • Lauryn Rockwell (Mar Vista) FR/Driv
  • Jasmyn Austin (Bonita Vista) FR/UT


Women’s volleyball

  • Paulina Zamudio (Otay Ranch) FR/OH
  • Christine Blore (Liberty Charter) FR/S-OPP
  • Alexys Saulog (Eastlake) FR/DS
  • Valentina Gutierrez Schell (Bayfront Charter) FR/DS
  • Madelyn Torres (Olympian) FR/S-DS
  • Erica Damon (Hilltop) FR/S
  • Mareta Poe (Castle Park) FR/OH
  • Emily Castanon (Bonita Vista) FR/OH-DS
  • Karina Delgado (Eastlake) FR/MB
  • Naylhea Serrano (Southwest) FR/OPP-OH
  • Denise Lopez (CVLCC) FR/DS
  • Ana James (Mar Vista) FR/OH
  • Danielle Simmons (Helix) FR/MB
  • Anamaria Ancheta (Mater Dei Catholic) SO/OPP


Men’s cross country

  • Aldo Acuna (Mar Vista) FR
  • Ricardo Dollero (Bonita Vista) FR
  • Anthony Estevane (Olympian) FR
  • Juan Juarez Rojas (San Ysidro) FR
  • Aaron Lugo (San Ysidro) FR
  • Alex Moffett (Eastlake) FR
  • Anthony Olivera (Bonita Vista) FR
  • Edwin Reyes (San Diego) FR


Women’s cross country

  • Ericka Ambriz (Heritage Christian) FR
  • Jordan Bellama (Otay Ranch) FR
  • Cassandra Gamino (High Tech High) FR
  • Ana (Pilar) Healy (Bonita Vista) FR
  • Jacqueline Ramirez (Southwest) FR



Men’s basketball

  • Diego Edwards (Southwest) FR/G-F
  • Israel Seales (Mater Dei Catholic) SO/F
  • Isaiah Camon (Balboa Prep) FR/G
  • Dejon (DJ) Jackson (Coronado) SO/F
  • Nathaniel Pearson (Hoover) SO/G
  • Mark Johnson (Hoover) FR/G
  • Christian West (Mira Mesa) FR/F


Women’s basketball

  • Jaylean Arenas (Bonita Vista) FR/G
  • Stephanie Cosio (Montgomery) FR/G
  • Destiny Gilkes (Montgomery) FR/G-F
  • Montserrat Guzman (Hilltop) FR/G
  • Malia Talavera (Olympian) SO/G
  • Caylin Brown (Mar Vista) FR/G-F
  • Skyylee Medrano (Southwest) FR/G-F
  • Laryssa Kure (Bonita Vista) FR/G
  • Samara Martinez (Mater Di Catholic) RS/G-F
  • Tayanna Mason (Morse) RS/G-F
  • Elizabeth Paranada (Montgomery) RS/G-F
  • Kaleese Petties (Montgomery) RS/G
  • Edana Rosario (Sweetwater) G




  • Amari Riley (Otay Ranch) SO/OF
  • Rafael Iribe (Chula Vista) SO/INF
  • Elijah Burns (Mar Vista) SO/INF-OF
  • Ryan Major (Hilltop) SO/OF
  • Daniel Sandoval (San Ysidro) FR/RHP
  • Oscar Ramirez (Hilltop) SO/INF
  • Adrian Hinojosa (Eastlake) FR/OF
  • Alejandro Celiceo (Chula Vista) SO/RHP
  • David Garcia (Monte Vista) SO/INF
  • Jesse Chacon (Hilltop) FR/INF
  • Evan Moreno (Hilltop) SO/LHP
  • Rigo Duarte (Montgomery) SO/C
  • Jared Pratt (Coronado) FR/C
  • Colin Ruthernberg (University City) FR/OF
  • Andres Contreras (Olympian) FR/INF-OF
  • Guillermo Espinosa (Sweetwater) SO/RHP
  • Iran Fuentes (Eastlake) FR/INF
  • Jake Borst (Mar Vista) SO/C
  • Octavio Sanchez (Eastlake) SO/RHP
  • Dylan Miller (Coronado) FR/RHP
  • Joshua Pizzo (Clairemont) SO/RHP
  • Victor Zazueta (Olympian) FR/OF
  • Andrew Gonzalez (Monte Vista) SO/INF
  • Giancarlo Cortez (St. Augustine) FR/LHP
  • Ryan Martinez (Olympian) FR/LHP
  • Derek Balancier (Bonita Vista) FR/RHP
  • Mark Lusti (St. Augustine) FR/RHP
  • Zakary Farris (Grossmont) FR/OF
  • Christian Vasquez (Mater Dei Catholic) FR/RHP
  • Riley O’Sullivan (Valhalla) FR/RHP
  • Isaac Almendarez (Bonita Vista) FR/INF
  • Anthony Nelson (University City) FR/INF
  • Trevor Smallwood (Foothills Christian) SO/RHP
  • Edmund King (Mar Vista) FR/INF



  • Rebecca Romero (Mar Vista) FR/OF
  • Erika Anders (Clairemont) SO/SS
  • Ionna Upham (Monte Vista) FR/OF
  • Erica Simon (Granite Hills) FR/INF
  • Kianna Knoll (Clairemont) SO/UT-P
  • Isabella Brock (Eastlake) FR/INF
  • Jacqueline Kamery (Serra) SO/P
  • Amanda Whipple (Steele Canyon) FR/1B-C
  • Alexia Sandoval (Hilltop) FR/INF-P
  • Natalia Ojeda (Otay Ranch) FR/INF-C
  • Samantha Green (Valhalla) FR/C-UT
  • Breeanna Simmons (Olympian) SO/OF
  • Andrea Nava (San Ysidro) FR/OF
  • Connie White (Scripps Ranch) SO/OF


Men’s swimming

  • Antonio Balvaneda (Otay Ranch) SO/BR
  • Jadon Garcia (Southwest) FR/IM
  • Bryce Heber (Mar Vista) FR/FS
  • Jeremy Longworth (Mar Vista) FR/FS
  • Zach Malcolm (Ocean View Christian) FR/FS
  • Osvaldo Murillo-Garcia (Sweetwater) FR/FS


Women’s swimming

  • Jasmyn Austin (Bonita Vista) FR/FLY
  • Alma Castillo (Eastlake) FR/FS
  • Savannah Collum (Hilltop) FR/FS
  • Julissa Diaz (Eastlake) FR/FS
  • Jazmin Glamin (Eastlake) SO/BK
  • Noemy Gonzalez (Castle Park) FR/BR
  • Tess Johnson (Eastlake) FR/FS
  • Veronica Rios (Eastlake) FR/FS
  • Nataly Rivas (Southwest) FR/FLY
  • Lauren Rockwell (Mar Vista) FR/FS


Men’s track and field

  • Aldo Acuna (Mar Vista) FR
  • Jose Andrade (Chula Vista) FR
  • Armaund Anthony (Bonita Vista) FR
  • Thomas Burk (Bonita Vista) FR
  • Joshua Dimacali (Bonita Vista) FR
  • Anthony Estavane (Olympian) FR
  • Ethan Lamprecht (Bonita Vista) SO
  • Jakari Lowe (Sweetwater) SO
  • Valienteno Parcely (Otay Ranch) FR
  • Rashad Prince (Orange Glen) FR
  • Joe Rivas (Olympian) FR
  • Kevin Robinson (Eastlake) FR
  • Zion Scott (Bonita Vista) FR
  • Bennie Smith (Mar Vista)
  • Sebastian Vazquez (Bonita Vista) SO


Women’s track and field

  • Kelsey Avalos (High tech High) FR
  • Nayeli Balderas (Montgomery) FR
  • Jordan Bellama (Otay Ranch) FR
  • Natalia Cortes (Eastlake) FR
  • Alyssa Meeks (Olympian) SO
  • Myah Montoya (Bonita Vista) FR
  • Alondra Osuna (Otay Ranch) SO
  • Andrea Reyes (Bonita Vista) FR


Women’s tennis

  • Gian Celario (Montgomery) FR/S+D
  • Yolitzin (Cathy) Jaime (Olympian) FR/S
  • Tairys Jimenez (Chula Vista) FR/S+D
  • Natalia Mendoza-Mercado (Lazavo Cardenas) FR/S+D
  • Fernanda Perez (High Tech High) FR/S
  • Andrea Reyes (Bonita Vista) SO/S+D



Edwards’ Best Defense Foundation to host  June 6 walk to honor 76th anniversary of D-Day

Donnie Edwards, a two-time All-Pro and a 2002 Pro Bowl selection who played 13 seasons with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers, and the Best Defense Foundation have teamed up with to host a walk to commemorate the 76th anniversary of D-Day on Saturday, June 6.

The walk is an opportunity for people to offer their support for America’s WWII veterans. Any time during the day or night on June 6, participants are encouraged to get out and walk five kilometers (3.1 miles), which represents the distance from Omaha Beach to Pointe Du Hoc on the shores of Normandy, France.

For more information or to register, visit

There is no cost to simply get out and participate in the walk on June 6. However, there are a number of options available to sign up and make a straight donation to the foundation, or make a contribution to participate in the walk and receive some great commemorative items. They include WWII history books autographed by WWII veterans, commemorative challenge coins and T-shirts, and patches, lapel pins and hats from the Best Defense Foundation.

Re-established in 2018 as a 501c3 nonprofit foundation, the Best Defense Foundation’s mission is to help military veterans and their families. A cornerstone of the program is Edwards’ commitment to bring WWII veterans back to foreign battlefields to help them find closure and camaraderie with their brothers in arms. In 2019, the Best Defense Foundation brought WWII veterans to six former battle sites: Iwo Jima, Normandy, Battle of the Bulge, the Eagle’s Nest, Holland and Pearl Harbor.

Proceeds raised will help the Best Defense Foundation cover costs associated with helping veterans travel around the world to visit historical battle sites, the ones where they fought for and defended Western freedom.

D-Day was the largest seaborne invasion in world history. It occurred on Tuesday, June 6, 1944, on the shores of Normandy. Code-named Operation Overlord, the invasion featured American, British and Canadian forces. The Invasion of Normandy is regarded by most historians as the beginning of the end of WWII in Europe as the Allied forces liberated Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control.

Edwards, a Chula Vista High School alumnus, was the recipient of the NFL’s prestigious Salute to Service Award in 2020 for his commitment to America’s WWII veterans. During his playing career, Edwards participated in 10 USO Tours, and in 2003, he was part of a special delegation invited aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln when President George Bush delivered his famous Mission Accomplished speech signifying an end to major combat operations in Iraq.