Serious soccer players deserve a serious send-off.
On National Signing Day at Total Soccer in Wixom, that’s exactly what was given to a large group of Michigan Hawks and Michigan Wolves elite club players who made official their plans to continue playing the sport at the collegiate level.
“They grow up here at our club and they get to see each other bloom as players and as people,” said Hawks/Wolves coach Scott Duhl, also varsity boys soccer coach at Salem. “And to see the end product of them signing at big-time schools, ... it’s fun not only for us as coaches but for parents and friends’ parents.
“It’s just a fun night that we’re trying to make bigger and bigger, to celebrate the players and all the work they’ve put into it.”
The Feb. 3 event featured nearly 50 student-athletes, coaches and family members for plenty of ceremonial photos, congratulations and conversation — about the role played by the Hawks and Wolves in helping young women and men, respectively, grow into college-bound standouts.
A large gathering of players from the Michigan Wolves and Hawks Soccer Club celebrated together during National Signing Day festivities at Total Soccer in Wixom. In the front row (from left) are Karlie Cummins (Lewis), Brenna Seaman (Ferris), Olivia Janke (Valparaiso), Megan McCurry (Siena Heights), Avery Hay (DePaul), Casey Codd (Grand Valley), Jamie Leas (DePaul), Allison Viazanko (Central Michigan), Michael Cohen (Wisconsin Green Bay), Amy Krause (Michigan State), Natalie Winters (Iowa), Josie Fowler (Marquette), Anabel Nam (Michigan), Leah Moss (Iowa), Emma Tokuyama (Mercer) and Connor Brazil (Louisville). In the middle row (from left) are Emily Boss (Indiana Wesleyan), Lindsey Crawley (Savanna College of Art and Design), Delaney Bussey (S. Carolina Upstate), Harley Gorzelski (Cleary), Anna DeBiasi (Cleveland State), Sydney O’Donnell (Vanderbilt), Madison Archibald (Siena Heights), Casey Muglia (Ashland), Megan Young (Florida Gulf Coast), Madeleine Lucas (Northwestern), Alison Winterfield (Wisconsin), Celia Oatis (Michigan State), Zoe Morse (Virginia), Hannah Drkulec (Iowa), Kate McEachern (Pittsburgh), Katrina Koomen (Charleston), Logan Culver (Mercer) and Justin Murray (University of Detroit Mercy). In the back row (from left) are Ian Adams (Calvin), Bobby Hickson (Princeton), Creaghan Diekema (Belmont), Lucas Rosendall (Michigan), Giuseppe Barone (Michigan State), Suniel Veerakone (Duke), Tommy Tenuta (University of Chicago), Roddy Green (Saginaw Valley State), Nils Valdmanis (Western Michigan), Isiah Handspike (Spring Arbor), Michael Pimlott (Michigan State), Ryan Resendes (Lawrence Tech), Peter Kirouac (Albion), Aidan Taylor (Spring Arbor) and Stephen Wilbur (Hope). (Photo: MICHIGAN WOLVES AND HAWKS SOCCER CLUB)
“We’re really fortunate to come from a place that’s had a lot of success over the years, that is a big draw to players,” Duhl said. “And even myself, I’m fortunate to work with some good coaches, that have lots of contacts. Because of it, we have over 40 kids signing today.
“Half of them are Division I schools and the other half are really good NAIA, Division II, Division III schools. And places where they’re really comfortable and excited about going and playing.”
Ramping it up
Several of those future college players live in Canton and Plymouth, two of the club’s top areas for recruits (along with Livonia, Novi, Northville and Walled Lake).
“Can’t wait to be a Hawkeye, from (Michigan) Hawks to Hawkeyes,” said Leah Moss, a Salem senior who is a center-defender for the Hawks’ Elite Clubs National League Under-18 team. “It just happened like that.”
Moss will be going to play Division I soccer for the University of Iowa, as will Canton High School senior Natalie Winters.
“Hawks just really helps you because it’s intense and they help you get better soccer-wise,” Moss said. “Going there with Natalie? That will be nice, seven hours from home (Iowa City) it’s nice to see a familiar face.”
Winters, a speedy forward, is in her fifth year with the Hawks after cutting her soccer teeth with the Canton Celtic club.
“I’ve known Leah since I was like three,” Winters said. “I think it (both going to Iowa) was coincidence, mostly, but it’s going to be fun.”
She stressed that although high school soccer is fun (she is not playing her senior season at Canton, however), “club is more serious and hey help you a lot with recruiting.”
For anybody hopeful of getting the attention of college scouts, “it would be beneficial” to play with the Hawks or Wolves, Winters continued.
“We go to a lot of showcases and a lot of college coaches come and watch us,”
Plymouth senior Anna DeBiasi joined Moss, Winters and other club players from the Canton and Plymouth communities for a group photo. She also is thrilled about how playing for the Hawks helped her land a D-I scholarship with Cleveland State University.
“I really like it, it’s really close to home, and it’s a good college in academics,” said DeBiasi, a midfielder who unlike Winters will play this spring with her high school team. “It’s D-I, so it was the full package for me.”
DeBiasi said she benefited from playing both high school and club soccer complemented the other in helping her grow as a player, although her time with the Hawks “really pushed me to be a better player.”
Also gearing up for D-I soccer is Justin Murray, a senior at Novi Detroit Catholic Central and Canton native who will play defense at University of Detroit Mercy.
“Here, I played two years and Canton Celtic for nine years,” Murray said. “It just feels like it’s paid off, it really feels good.”
Murray stressed that playing for the Wolves was instrumental in UDM spotting him and ultimately signing him.
“They offer big tournaments, Disney (in Orlando, Fla.) being one, that’s where I was seen,” Murray said. “I think club is more beneficial for a college scholarship. You just see more college coaches, you’re playing better teams. But high school is more pride.”
Other area players on the Hawks taking part in the National Signing Day celebration included the following: Madison Archibald (Canton HS), Siena Heights; Olivia Janke (Plymouth HS), Valparaiso; Madeleine Lucas (Canton HS), Northwestern); Megan McCurry (Plymouth HS), Siena Heights; and Casey Muglia, (Canton HS), Ashland;
In addition to Murray, area players from the Wolves signing with colleges included Hunter Gibbons, a Salem senior going to Spring Arbor, and Hunter Olson, a Canton senior who signed at Calvin College.
Duhl — whose duties at the club include coaching the Hawks’ U18 Black squad as well as the U17 Wolves and U16 Academy Wolves — also made sure to praise the players’ parents for their significant role in helping their athletes stay the course, which veered far away from the club’s metro-Detroit hub more often than not.
The families “provide a lot for their kids, they give them opportunities to play in our club. They travel and take them all over the country to play in games, different training environments. I think it goes to show you what a great community we have, more so than just a great club,” he emphasized.
Link to original article in hometimelife