Pioneers’ Thomas taking her game to Urbana University
By Chris Miles
Jonathan Alder girls soccer coach Dan Brady remembers watching a youth soccer match years ago where a fleet-footed youngster was literally running circles around opposing players.
Years later that same player was doing much the same at the high school level, earning her all-district honors for the Pioneers.
That player, Savannah Thomas a two-time captain at Alder, just recently finished up her senior season for the Pioneers and on Tuesday signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her career at Urbana University.
“I’ve always had the dream of playing soccer in college,” Thomas said. “To be able to sign in front of all my peers and with my family around me means a lot to me.”
A number of Ohio college coaches had their eyes on the speedy Thomas, but it was a visit from Urbana head coach Lauren Lewicki that got Thomas looking in the direction of the Blue Knights.
“I looked at Wilmington, Rio Grande and Heidelberg, but I chose Urbana because it was the first school I visited and I felt like I really clicked with the team and I really loved coach Lewicki.”
It was that initial visit from the Urbana coach that got the Alder standout thinking that she could possibly play soccer beyond the high school level.
“Coach Lewicki actually came to one of my high school games and watched me play,” Thomas said. “Knowing that coaches were going out of their way to watch me play made me realize that this could actually happen, it was really exciting.”
Brady knows that Urbana is getting a great player and an even better person in the standout Thomas.
“Savannah brings numerous qualities,” Brady said. “Her level of play is very high, she possesses the speed, the toughness, and obviously the keen smartness to attack and play both sides of the ball. Even though she’s known for her offense she can do it all on the defensive end too.
“What Savannah is going to bring to Urbana is a tremendous personality. A big personality, the highest work ethic and just a great burning desire to compete.”
Thomas said she hopes to major in middle school education and expects to work hard in practice with the thought of earning her way onto the field sooner rather than later.
She also knows she could be busy doing some of the things freshman are expected to do as well.
“I don’t know how much I’ll be playing right away but I’ll be the freshman so I’ll probably be collecting balls after practice and all that,” she said.
“But I feel like I really fit in with the team, hopefully I can eventually work my way into starting lineup.
“I’m excited for a new experience. This is what I’ve worked for.”