Updated Mon, May 20, 2013 2:46 pm
Aaron Rodgers recently collected his first verbal commitments as head coach of the Ohio University women’s soccer team, adding three players for the class of 2014.
Defender Lauren Heger, goalkeeper Brooke Mauro and defender Megan Niebuhr play for the Ohio Elite Soccer Academy, one of the top club programs in the Midwest.
“All three girls will have played for five years in the Elite Club Nationals League by the time they begin their career at Ohio University,” wrote Ohio Elite team manager Tim Lesiak in an email. “This valuable experience will help ease them into the collegiate game and will allow all three players to make an immediate impact.”
This Ohio Elite team finished sixth in the ECNL last year, a league composed of 66 teams from across the nation. They also won the Ohio South Youth Soccer Association state cup in 2010 and 2011.
Niebuhr specifically is a promising recruit for the university. TopDrawerSoccer.com ranked her the 121st best recruit in the country and the 12th best recruit in the Great Lakes region. She was selected to be a part of the ECNL all event team in 2012, a very exclusive opportunity. For St. Ursula Academy in Cincinnati, her high school team, she made first-team all-conference and was selected for the All-Southwest Ohio team.
“We have been together for a long time and understand how each of us play our positions,” wrote Niebuhr in an email. “Since I have played next to Lauren Heger for so long, most of the time we don’t even have to communicate, we just know what each of us will be doing in certain situations. We know how to cover for each other and move off the ball.”
TopDrawerSoccer.com ranked Heger 25th in the Great Lakes region. She verbally committed to Cincinnati in August of 2012 before committing to Ohio.
Heger and Niebuhr work to support Mauro in the net. During the 2011-2012 season, Mauro gave up only six goals in 20 games.
Ohio currently has three goalkeepers on the roster for 2013-2014, redshirt junior Rachel Fryan, junior Nicola Amari and senior Mattie Liston. The addition of a young skilled keeper like Mauro is essential for Ohio’s future success.
The addition of two top-notch defenders to the program is also a positive, but Ohio needs to look to the offensive side of the ball as well. Ohio was shut out in nearly all of their losses last season, so a scorer should be high on Rodgers’ list.
“I want to bring a MAC title home to Athens,” wrote Niebuhr. “I am a very competitive player and I love the game. I hope to bring enthusiasm and strong leadership.”