All-American women’s soccer recruit headed to Kent State

William Kovach

All-American. All-State First Team. ECC Player of the Year. These are the titles previous Loveland High School star defender Rachel Ernst will bring with her to Kent State.

The honors of All-American status were a surprise to Ernst initially, she said.

“It was really nice to finally see some hard work pay off,” Ernst said.

She leaves behind a historic legacy — she started 81 consecutive games throughout her high school career, which is a school record. Her record during those 81 games came out to 66-11-4.  

During her junior year, Loveland went 19-1-1 along with accepting a bid to the state finals.

Her choice to become a member of the Flashes’ roster was not a decision that was made on a whim. 

“I really enjoyed the coaches,” Ernst said. “They’re very supportive. They were more focused on us as a whole, versus winning every game.”

Ernst’s biggest inspirations are her coaches, she said.

“I admire how smart they are about the game,” Ernst said. “They have the right balance of being your friend but also being your coach … They’ve pushed me to become a better player.”

Ernst faced challenges with meniscus-related injuries, she said, as she needed two surgical operations during her soccer career.

“It’s always hard sitting on the sidelines, just watching everyone play and waiting to get back on the field,” Ernst said.

Her former coach — Coach of the Year Todd Kelly — said Ernst’s work ethic is something he hasn’t seen often.

“She’s one of those rare kids,” Kelly said. “She has an innate ability to compete … she played her entire senior year with a torn meniscus and still came away with All-American honors.”

Ernst said she looks forward to the independence that comes with college learning, as well as taking courses that pertain to her interests. 

She plans to study cell and molecular biology.

William Kovach is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]