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Over the course of her club career, Claire Johnson had to climb the ladder, from a C team player her U11 year, to a solid contributor with her Crossfire ECNL squad, to an under-the-radar recruit who eventually caught the attention of the University of Idaho.
Injuries hampered her recruiting process, as the 5-foot-2 center back missed a couple of significant national events when her teammates were making commitment decisions.
She persevered, continuing to email coaches near and far, eventually getting noticed by new head coach Derek Pittman, and it didn’t take long for her to see this as the right place for her.
“To say that I love the University of Idaho is an understatement,” Johnson told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “To get to Moscow, you have to drive through some of the most beautiful parts of Washington and upon arriving in Moscow, I was immediately at home. I got to meet some of the players and was instantly at ease with them. The dorm rooms are awesome, the campus and athletic facilities are top notch and the coaching staff is truly wonderful.”
Johnson took a strong liking to the coaching staff, and felt right away that they “got” her as a person, not just as a player.
“To be comfortable on a team, I have to be able to be myself and I love that Derek, Ashley and Laura gets me and my sense of humor,” she said. “I can be very serious but I can goof around and have a good time. I can tell that the coaching staff is very serious about building a good program and I am thrilled to be a part of that process. But I can also tell that they know how to find a balance with all that hard work.”
Along with that, she found the right academic opportunities, not to mention being impressed with the school’s athletic facilities.
“I am interested in Business or Education with a Spanish minor and the U of I offers both areas of study with a fabulous Business school and an esteemed Education department,” Johnson said. “Either way I decide to go with my education, the University has fantastic options available to me.”
In just over a week, Maryland officially becomes a member of the Big 10.
And while leaving the ACC is a significant change of scenery in the women’s soccer realm, recent verbal commitment Erin Seppi is eager for the challenge that one of the nation’s most improved conferences has to offer.
“For me, the opportunity to face some of the best teams in the country in the Big 10 was one of the reasons I chose the University Of Maryland,” Seppi told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “They have an excellent academic reputation and I love that they are minutes from Washington, D.C. Once visiting the campus and meeting the players and coaches I knew this is exactly where I wanted to spend the next four years. The sense of faith, trust and team are evident at the University of Maryland and I look forward to joining the Terrapin family.”
The Top 150 ranked shot stopper on her ECNL side, the similarities between the Terps and her FC Bucks side was a definite plus, not to mention the program’s coaching staff.
“Maryland's style of play is similar to my club teams style, so I will be able to adapt to their game quickly and help create results,” Seppi said. “On my unofficial visit, I really connected with the all three coaches. I am very excited to be able to be trained by and learn from coach [Jonathan] Morgan, coach [Eric] Golz, and coach [Laurie] George. They show the same level of dedication and love for the game as I have.”
Defender Dana Manning (Tampa Bay United) committed to Wake Forest(w) for the class of 2015.
Midfielder Emma Kershner (FC Virginia) committed to Indiana for the class of 2016.