Updated Tue, Nov 12, 2013 10:12 am
The Ohio women’s soccer team has had a lot of success in recruiting players that are ready to play at the collegiate level as underclassmen. However, no matter how much a player prepares in high school, nothing compares to the speed of play of college soccer.
The Bobcats played this past season with three players on their roster who got to experience collegiate play before coming to Ohio. Redshirt freshman midfielder Carly Manso, junior defender Tonya Frasik, and senior midfielder Maggie Murnane all transferred to Ohio after at least one year at a different university.
“Ohio is a state with such great talent that a lot of people go away and realize the grass isn’t always greener, so they want to come back to Ohio and Ohio University is a wonderful place that everybody knows about,” said head coach Aaron Rodgers. “We definitely keep our eye out.”
Manso was the only one of the transfer students in her first year at Ohio. She came to the Bobcats from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a Division I program in the PAC-12.
“The PAC-12 conference is just a lot different than the [Mid-American Conference], however, the MAC is growing and the game is getting much more intense,” said Manso. “Any team has the opportunity to win the MAC tournament, I think. It’s a good change for me though, it’s a better fit”
Despite redshirting her freshman season, the year of collegiate experience still allowed Manso to feel more prepared in her transition to Ohio.
“I feel like I knew what to expect on a Division I soccer level, I knew that it is very demanding but my passion for the game has just taken over,” said Manso. “I knew how the pace of the game was going to be, I knew how to balance school with soccer and that’s always hard.”
Frasik came to Ohio last year from Ohio Dominican University. ODU is a Division II program that competed against MAC schools in its spring season.
“During those games I started to really like the MAC teams’ style of play and the fast pace of their game seemed like the perfect fit,” said Frasik. “I wanted more of a challenge than ODU and Division II soccer.”
Frasik has had three different college head coaches in three years because of transferring and the replacement of Stacy Strauss with Aaron Rodgers.
“The three coaches in three years has meant three different positions in three years,” said Frasik. “At ODU I was a central midfielder and then with Stacy I played forward and now I’m playing right back.”
Frasik was not guaranteed a spot on the Bobcats’ roster and had to walk on last season. She ended up making an immediate impact, playing in all 19 of Ohio’s matches. Despite fitting in with the team immediately, she still had to do her time as a new player.
“When I came in I was treated like a freshman,” said Frasik. “I felt more prepared on the field but I still had to do all the things the freshmen had to do.”
Frasik’s dissatisfaction with ODU and Division II soccer comes as no surprise to Rodgers.
“Typically [with] D-II schools you either find technical players that aren’t very athletic or extremely athletic players that aren’t very technical and so that has a bearing on their games,” said Rodgers. “I think Tonya obviously did very well at that level because she is both athletic and technical, so that’s where she found she wanted to be challenged more.”
Murnane came to Ohio after two seasons at the University of Dayton. She was also able to play a large role for Ohio from her first match and started every game last season. She was also Academic All-MAC in 2012.
Murnane, Manso and junior goalkeeper Nicole Amari all came to Ohio from Illinois, where they knew each other from club soccer. Amari was the first of the three to come to Ohio and Murnane was next to follow.
“I think Maggie and Nicole made [Manso] already feel at home and familiar with Ohio University,” said Rodgers.
All three transfer players were been consistent starters for Ohio this season. The Bobcats finished their season with a 7-8-5 overall record, bowing out in the first round of the MAC Tournament.