‘I wasn’t ready to stop’
Ike’s Frederick will play soccer at Mercyhurst NE
Eisenhower High School senior Rachel Frederick has announced she will be playing women’s soccer at Mercyhurst North East in the fall.
The Region 3 first-team all-region all-star as a defender takes pride in how much her high school team has improved over the year’s and it’s thanks, in part, to her stellar defense.
“I chose Mercyhurst because I knew I wasn’t ready to stop playing soccer,” said Frederick. “I love the sport too much to give it up yet, and after talking to the coach, I knew it was the perfect fit, academically and athletically.”
Frederick said she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology then pursuing my masters in the physicians assistant program.
Mercyhurst North East has announced plans to consolidate its campus to Mercyhurst in Erie beginning in 2021, so the future is unclear, but Frederick said the North East teams plan to continue apart from the Mercyhurst programs, sports-wise.
“I know that they had their winningest season last year and the coach is doing his very best to keep continuing that and take them places,” said Frederick of head coach Matt Mountford (National Junior College Athletic Association, Region III).
Frederick wanted to play at the next level so “getting my name out there” on recruiting sites was important. “I went to a couple of camps where there were plenty of coaches and when I got the chance, I emailed them for their input on my skills and where I need to improve.”
That work ethic comes from close to home.
“Definitely my mom and dad,” she said. “They pushed me everyday to do my very best and, even on the absolute worst days, they were there to pick me up and make sure I was in the right mindset.”
She was a first-team all-region all-star her junior year as well, and second team as a sophomore, but “putting in the off-season work” is the best advice she has for younger players.
“I know the off-season conditioning and off-season work is painful at times, but it pays off,” she said. “Also, believe in yourself. I know it’s difficult at times, but even when you feel it’s your worst day, still push yourself as hard and as best you can. You never know who is there watching.”
Excelling and loving defense tells a lot about a girl who played offensive forward up to when coaches Smelko and Fadale convinced her to try defense years ago as part of Kinzua Soccer Club. Her game grew from there into Eisenhower and head coach Diana Elmquist “building us into leaders,” said Frederick.
“Rachel was a solid anchor in our backfield,” said Elmquist. “She not only managed her defensive line well, but her speed and ability to outrun most of her competition made her a force field that was difficult to penetrate. In addition to her physical ability, her attitude and determination made her an athlete that any coach would be thrilled to have as part of their team. I will miss her immense enthusiasm for the game. She just wants to play and I am so happy for her that she will be able to continue on as an athlete in the sport that she loves.”