PORTSMOUTH — To form any successful defensive unit, a roster has to have student-athletes with a great deal of toughness on that end of the pitch.
Columbus native Sydney Kohler has every ounce of that toughness necessary to succeed.
At 5-3, she’s had to.
Kohler, who starred as a prep athlete at Whetstone High School in Columbus and then at Wabash Valley College (Ill.), will make her way to the Bears’ roster this coming fall and will greatly aid a Shawnee State unit that’s looking to improve on its own defense in 2020.
“Signing with Shawnee State, for me, means another opportunity to become part of a team and be able to represent more than just a team, but a group of diverse people who have come from all over,” Kohler said. “Signing with SSU also gives me another chance to play the game I love at a high level.”
Due to an ACL tear and a serious illness, Kohler wasn’t able to enjoy a complete high school soccer career like the vast majority of student-athletes.
However, Kohler, after battling through those obstacles, recovered and became a team captain during her senior year.
Whetstone finished 5-9-2 and obtained Columbus City League runner-up honors, with Kohler scoring the team’s lone goal in the CCL championship game against Columbus Centennial (4-1 loss).
Kohler also played club soccer with Ohio Premier and Locker Elite.
Despite her shortened career, Kohler’s impressive efforts during her senior season, which resulted in first-team all-Columbus City League honors, and her incredible work ethic resulted in a shot to play collegiate soccer at Wabash Valley — where she became one of only four players on the entire roster to appear in each of the team’s 12 contests while also becoming one of only four players on the unit to start in at least 11 affairs.
Academically, Kohler continued to be way ahead of the curve.
The freshman, who had already accumulated college credit hours due to her advanced placement and honors courseload in high school, made the CEO’s Honors List by averaging a GPA of at least 3.9.
With Shawnee State, the reasonable driving distance, the school’s heavy emphasis on academics, the school’s exercise science program, and the entire SSU coaching staff all proved to be selling points for Kohler — who continues a string of strong student-athletes that Natasha Ademakinwa has brought in under her watch.
“I chose Shawnee because of the exercise science program and meeting with the staff made me believe that I would be successful while being challenged,” Kohler said. “I also chose SSU because of the soccer program, and talking with Natasha made me see that I would be very successful while continuing to improve my skills as a player.”
Over the coming years, Kohler simply wants to compete with her teammates and develop relationships that she’s hoping to continue well beyond her college days.
“I hope to add to my skills as a soccer player and to learn more about the game by the time I graduate,” Kohler said. “I also hope on making new friends and connections that last for many years to come.”
For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit www.ssubears.com or visit the Twitter and Facebook pages at https://twitter.com/SSUBears and https://www.facebook.com/SSUBears. For more information on how to join the SSU Bear Club, visit https://givetossu.com/bear-club.