Kicking her way into college: Amanda Poorbaugh and her commitment to Penn State University
Many students play a sport for their high school. For some athletes, that’s as far as they will go in their sport. They put on the orange and blue for a couple years and then never wear new colors. But one student in particular has found her new colors: white and blue.
Over the course of her life, junior Amanda Poorbaugh has played for multiple different soccer leagues in and out of the country. From Columbus to Amsterdam and back to the LC, soccer has always been a constant in her life. What once started as a recreational sport as a child quickly turned into something much more.
Poorbaugh first encountered soccer when she was 4 years old, and her parents put her in every sport that they could in order to see what she really enjoyed. As she got older, she narrowed it down to two sports, swimming and soccer. In the sixth grade, she decided to only pursue soccer as the load of two sports with back-to-back seasons became too much.
For Poorbaugh, soccer is more than just playing the sport itself; it’s also a destresser. “To be honest, I don’t really know what it is exactly about the sport that I love the most,” Poorbaugh said. “When I play, I can forget about anything stressful going on in my life, just let go and have fun.”
Currently, Amanda plays for Ohio Premier, which competes in the Elite Clubs National League, which is currently one of the top two girls soccer leagues in the country currently. In the past two years, the team has competed at nationals which were held in Seattle, Washington and San Diego, Californnia.
Poorbaugh not only plays for Ohio Premier and for our school, but she is also a part of the Columbus Goalkeeper Academy. From working so hard with so many different teams and clubs, it’s no surprise that Amanda has grown both on and off the field. “I have seen Amanda grow technically a lot,” Amanda’s club and goalkeeper coach Chad Prickett said. “She does a great job at listening and then doing, but she also keeps doing until she perfects it which is what makes her stand out from other players.”
Playing soccer in Amsterdam was a very different experience for Poorbaugh but overall helped her grow. She played for, at the time, the largest girls soccer club in Europe, SC Buitenveldert. In the Netherlands, girls soccer isn’t nearly as popular as it is in the United States, so they played in a league of all boys teams. At the time, I was still a field player, so I think playing against stronger and faster boys helped me to improve my foot skills immensely,” Poorbaugh said. “This is an aspect of my life I am very grateful for having because for a goalkeeper, at the college level, one of the most highly sought-after attributes is the ability to play with your feet.”
Not only is Poorbaugh grateful for her acquired soccer skills while in Europe, she is also very appreciative of her experience and maturity that she gained there. “I got to experience living in a different culture and had access to many different cultures through travel,” Poorbaugh said. “Seeing this made me realize just how much more was out there, other than the ‘Lewis Center Bubble’ and made me appreciate just how lucky I was to get to experience the things that I did.”
Amanda has worked incredibly hard both on and off the field. She constantly strives to be the best player she can be and also the best person she can be. “She puts in so much time and effort into being the best. She never settles for average and pushes herself in every aspect of her life. Amanda is always going the extra mile by doing extra trainings and workouts,” junior soccer player Hannah Heald said.
She is seen as a leader in the team with a good attitude, and she knows how to keep
everything under control when things seem a little chaotic on the field. “Within our team, Amanda is a great leader to everyone on the field and always positive and uplifting, even when things aren’t going her way. She keeps everyone grounded by always sharing her insight on what’s going on during the game and after,” Heald said.
Heald went on to say more that Amanda is also a great friend and sister, “She is
always there when you need someone to talk to and willing to drop whatever she’s doing to help out,” Heald said.
There were times when she questioned if she was making the right decisions, whether it be sticking with soccer itself, choosing the right club and even choosing the right position. “I tried out for the first time, in June of eighth grade, for Ohio Premier and made the ECNL team after only switching back to the goalkeeping position for a few months. Making that team helped to reassure me that my choice to play goalkeeper full time was the right one,” Poorbaugh said.
In July of this year, Poorbaugh had the honor of committing to one of the top 10 best women’s soccer programs in the nation: Penn State University. “At Penn State, she will get to train with some of the best women’s soccer players in the country and also play for a great head coach,” Amanda’s mom, Gretchen Poorbaugh, said.
Amanda will be the fourth person in her family to attend Penn State. Things like growing
up with a strong family influence towards the school and knowing that along with the soccer
there would be good academic programs made a big impact on her decision.
Sure, soccer can be tedious some days, but Poorbaugh can’t picture her life without it. “There are days when I’d rather stay home than go to practice because I know the level of play that is expected of me. But, I always go, and when I start playing, even in the hardest practices, I remember why I love the sport so much. Soccer is such a huge part of my life and I honestly don’t know who I’d be or where I would be without it,“ Poorbaugh said.