Osborne signs with IU soccer

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Heritage Hills senior Haley Osborne (center) signed her letter of intent Thursday to continue her soccer career. Joining her were mother Mandy (left), father Dwayne (right) and Pats girls soccer coach Andy Fischer (top).

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

LINCOLN CITY - Haley Osborne began playing soccer when she was four years old, and started playing travel soccer when she was nine. She didn't join the Heritage Hills varsity team until her junior year in 2019, but she had a record-setting career. And on Thursday, she inked her letter of intent to continue her soccer career as a forward at Indiana University.

Osborne's signing on Thursday made it the second day in a row that a Heritage Hills athlete signed to play a sport at a Power Five school, and the second of three days in a row that a Patriot is set to sign to play at the NCAA Division I level.

"I think a lot of it's just the families, honestly," Heritage Hills athletic director Jay Burch said. "I'd like to take for credit for that, our school would like to take credit for that, but a lot of it starts at home. It starts at home with families that bring up kids that work hard, that have a good work ethic and are good kids, and have goals and so forth."

Osborne's work ethic has certainly been a testament to making this day possible. Her mother, Mandy, remembered how hard her daughter worked with the soccer ball at home growing up.

"I had to tell her one time, 'Come in, it's getting dark,'" Mandy said. "And I look outside, it was raining, also. So, she was in the dark, in the rain, practicing."

Haley wanted to wait until she committed to play soccer in college before she joined the Pats on varsity, and she'd been committed to IU since she was a sophomore. She described soccer as a "growing passion" for her - knowing that she wanted to play the sport for as long as she could.

She thanked her parents - Mandy and Dwayne, for taking her across the country to play soccer somewhere. Haley believes this day was a testament to the hard work she's put in.

"It truly takes a village," Haley said.

Haley shared with the Herald one of her own stories of her dedication to the sport that she'll soon be playing collegiately.

"As soon as quarantine hit and we weren't allowed to leave the house, I was practicing for three hours a day, every day - just improving my game," she said.

The Pats went a combined 34-4 in the two seasons Haley played for them - winning a sectional championship with her on the squad in 2020. She has the most goals in team history (83), most goals in a season (45), has the second most assists all-time (39, the record is 40) and also holds the single season assists record (20).

"She puts in tremendous amounts of time in the offseason," Pats coach Andy Fischer said. "She's not just one of those girls that works in July and August to get ready for the fall season - she's constantly playing soccer year-round, and it shows her touch and her game awareness is second-to-none. She's a great player."

Fischer believes IU is getting a player who is strong, fast, smart and coachable. He thinks Haley will be a significant player for the Hoosiers, and he will miss her leadership. Fischer noted how fun she is to watch when she has the ball at her foot because it made him wonder if she would distribute or find a way to put the ball in the net.

Haley is the second player Fischer has coached to play soccer the NCAA Division I level after Kerragan Mulzer of Western Kentucky University.

"It's just fun to have girls like that," he said. "A lot of it has to be that they're self-driven and really want to push yourself to the next level. In order to get to the next level in college, especially D1, you got to have a lot of self-discipline, and both of these girls have. I just wish them both the best of luck."

Haley plans to major in elementary education. She will have the opportunity to help turn the program around. IU's women's soccer team last posted a winning record in 2013, but Haley thinks coach Erwin van Bennekom will have top notch recruits to bring into the fray.

She vowed the program will get up there again, and she's setting her goals her as a college soccer player.

"I want to win a national championship," Haley said.




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