Recent commits to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Penn State give reason for picking their respective schools, including a pair from the same club.
Commitment: Oklahoma State
It takes an extraordinary talent for a school to offer a scholarship to a player who is only a freshman in high school.
Tatum Wagner is just that type of talent.
“She is very athletic,” her club coach Kerry Shubert told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “She is probably the fastest player in the region and she is a great finisher.”
Those attributes had Oklahoma State’s coaching staff eager to land the local recruit, but it did not take much to convince Wagner that Stillwater was the place for her.
“I grew up loving OSU, but to play soccer there for me was about being the best in the Big12, the great coaches, and a chance to win a national championship for the school I love,” Wagner told TopDrawerSoccer.com over email.
The early verbal commit took some pressure off, but she is still working hard to prepare for her arrival at Cowgirl Soccer Complex.
“Now, I can just go play, have fun, and spend the next four years getting better and getting ready to be a Cowgirl,” Wagner said.
Other powerhouse programs did express interest in the striker who has netted 12 goals and six assists in her first season in the ECNL, but it was always going to be Oklahoma State that had her heart.
“I appreciate the attention and offers from all the other great schools,” Wagner said. “For them to want to pay for my college education is a huge compliment, but OSU is in my blood.”
Wagner’s father, Craig, played baseball at Oklahoma State in 1994, which contributed to her affinity of America’s Brightest Orange.
When asked what stood out to her college choice’s soccer program, midfielder Claire Salazar had plenty to say.
“The soccer facilities are impressive and the student body support seems to be enriched with excitement,” she wrote TopDrawerSoccer.com in an email. “The coaching staff is very upbeat and positive. They seem to bring a family atmosphere.”
Salazar, who plays generally somewhere in the middle of the park, either as an attacking midfielder or in a holding role also took a liking to the combination of the old and new characteristics the program has to offer.
“OU is rich in traditions and the new coaching staff has brought a fresh outlook and style of play to the program,” she said.
Along with that, she’s excited to join the student body in a couple years, as she believes she’ll have everything at her disposal to succeed as a student athlete.
Location played a big role in Frannie Crouse’s recent college commitment.
“I decided on Penn State because the academic and soccer programs are some of the best in the country,” she told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “I liked the atmosphere of the campus and surrounding area and wanted to stay close to home so my family could see me play; that is very important to me.”
Happy Valley is set to become the Pennsylvania native’s collegiate home for a few years as the forward is set to join head coach Erica Walsh’s program.
While she’s made a name for herself using her pace as an out-and-out goal scorer, Crouse is also able to play as an outside midfielder and is happy to be anywhere on the field if it helps the team.
But the choice was much more than getting close to home, as Crouse also found a program that had numerous traits she was looking for regarding the soccer itself.
“Several things I liked about the soccer aspect of PSU included the family atmosphere that was apparent with Erica Walsh, her coaches, players, and the school support staff, the connection of the athletic facilities to the campus, and the opportunity to be an impact player for one of the top coaches in the country with a goal of winning a national championship,” she said. “I could not ask for a better situation.”