Women SOCA Alumni Making Impact in the College Soccer Ranks
2014 saw another great class of talented players graduate out of the SOCA Elite travel program, including many players who decided to continue their soccer careers at the collegiate level. Spanning different programs across the eastern seaboard and at every different level of intercollegiate play, the players continue to represent the SOCA community well.
Leading the way, former U18 Girls Elite member, Morgan Mays is making an impact at Division 1 program Marshall University. Seeing playing time in every match, Mays has found a niche as a spark off the bench for the Thundering Herd, garnering high praise from head coach Kevin Long at the start of the season, “Morgan I’ve seen play a lot of times. You can see she’s got a motor and she’s technical. She’s got some vision that not everyone on the field has, so she’s able to put through some great balls and she’s really dynamic with those. It’s great to see a freshman carry not only her own load, but the team as well. It’s great to see from a young player so early in her career.”
Last year’s U18 Girls Elite coach, Matt Wilson echoed those sentiments saying “It was a pleasure working with Morgan last year. She not only was a special player with a genuine creative spirit in the attacking third, but she was also a great leader and teammate.”
In addition to Mays, two other players from last year’s U18’s are making early on-field contributions to their respective teams. Rachel Cooke joined ODAC powerhouse and the #6 nationally ranked Lynchburg College Hornets, and after recovering from an offseason injury, is beginning to return to form. Having now tallied 1 goal from 6 matches played, Cooke should only continue to impress as the opportunities develop within the undefeated squad.
Former teammate Alexis Hucek has played in every match of the season for the Franklin and Marshall Diplomats, a Division 3 program in Pennsylvania. Hucek who found the program late in her senior high school year, is rounding into an important part of the young team, starting 3 matches from 8. Coach Wilson was particularly pleased with Hucek’s start to the season. “I knew Alexis could play collegiately, but sometimes it is difficult to find the right mix of school and soccer program for every player. It appears that F&M has been that for her.”
The U18’s were not the only team to graduate players into the college ranks last year. The U17 Girls Elite had 2 players join College programs; Hannah Kengerski joined Pennsylvania’s standout Division 2 program Slippery Rock, and Sarah Grupp made the trip up to New York’s D3 SUNY Oswego.
Grupp in particular has jumped right into the mix with the Lakers. The dual sport star (ice hockey as well) has started every match this season and has logged the third most game-minutes of any member of the team. Scoring her first 2 collegiate goals in the last week prompted this reaction from SOCA’s Director of Coaching and U17 Girls Elite Coach Dan Ensley. “Sarah Grupp is the type of player you can build a team around, and it comes as no surprise to me that this seems to be exactly what they are doing in Oswego. She not only has the potential, but the ability to be a great contributor to that program”.
In addition to those players already mentioned, the 2013-14 SOCA Girls Elite produced the following college program members: Kelly Hansen and Megan Wenger at Division 3 Randolph Macon and Tina Wulin at Division 2 Davis and Elkins.
SOCA’s Elite Travel program continues to provide the technical and tactical training necessary for players to play at the next level. In addition, SOCA’s participation in the Club Champions League and Atlantic Soccer League college showcase events provides the recruiting opportunities necessary for players to form valuable relationships in the vast world of college recruiting. Congratulations to last year’s graduating class and good luck with the remainder of their respective seasons.