Rachel Baughman’s earliest memories on the soccer pitch were made while playing in a community coed league as an elementary school student.
It is during those childhood practices and games that the current Louisville High School junior soccer star first grew fond of the world’s most popular sport.
Like a lot of kids, Baughman tried other sports, but was continually drawn back to soccer.
“I played baseball around that age, too, but you don’t see a lot of sports where you get to use your feet,” Baughman said.
Baughman used her impressive footwork to make an immediate impact on the Leopards’ varsity girls soccer team as a freshman in 2011. She was named the team’s offensive player of the year and earned first-team All-Northeastern Buckeye Conference and first-team All-Stark County honors.
That spring, the Louisville student-athlete participated in another foot-centric sport – track – and excelled once again. Baughman was a member of the school’s 4X800-meter relay team that placed 13th at the 2012 Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I state track and field tournament.
As a sophomore, Baughman asserted herself as one of the area’s most talented prep girls soccer players. She tallied a school-record 35 goals and recorded a team-best nine assists en route to being named the conference player of the year.
Earlier this fall, on Sept. 4, Baughman notched her 66th career goal in a match at Carrollton to become the program’s all-time leading scorer.
? Leopard Nation (@LouisvilleLeps) September 5, 2013
The consummate team player, Baughman views the achievement as more of a reflection of the entire team than her individual athletic ability.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammates,” Baughman said of netting the milestone goal. “I think having the record broken this early shows what our team is capable of.”
Baughman has now scored 81 career goals. The junior forward tallied Louisville’s two scores in the team’s 2-0 win at Alliance Marlington on Wednesday night and has recorded at least one goal in 15 consecutive contests. The Leopards’ record now stands at 11-1-1 overall and 5-0 in the NBC.
The three-year starter has made the honor roll each of the past two school years and is currently enrolled in honors classes.
Baughman recently answered questions about her prolific high school soccer career and her plans for the future for WKYC’s USATodayhss.com Web site.
WKYC’s USATodayhss.com Web site: What is the best part of being a high school student-athlete?
Louisville junior soccer player Rachel Baughman: I think the best part about being an athlete in high school is that you are playing for your school and helping your school look good. I like knowing that a lot of people in school know how good you are at something and are super supportive. I also get to have a different group of friends that are all different ages and just have fun playing together.
WKYC: What does it mean to you to be a Louisville Leopard varsity student-athlete?
Baughman: I love (my) school. Even though we are a football town, a lot of students have come and supported soccer and other sports. The principals and teachers congratulate you on your game play and accomplishments. Knowing you have an opportunity to play for your school is awesome! The younger kids look up to you, and you get to show everyone what you’re made of.
WKYC: What are your personal and team goals for the season?
WKYC: Our team goals are to win the NBC again and to get further into the tournament than we did last year. We just want to show everyone that Louisville has a lot going for it and that we aren’t (the) beatable team everyone thinks we are. My personal goals are just to try and play better than I did last year. I want to help (my) team out as much as I can, and when they need me to step up, I’ll do it.
WKYC: If I asked one of your teammates to describe you, what would she likely say?
Baughman: I think if you asked one of my teammates what I’m like, she’d probably say I’m usually happy and am always smiling until I step out on that field. I have good sportsmanship, but when it’s game time, I don’t let up. I’m always working my butt off and hate losing.
WKYC: What is your favorite academic subject? Why?
Baughman: My favorite subject is definitely history. I love learning about historical people that helped our country become what it is today, and I love knowing how our country became what it is today.
WKYC: What has been your greatest non-athletic accomplishment in your life thus far?
Baughman: My greatest non-athletic accomplishment thus far would be making my Confirmation in eighth grade. Knowing that I am part of the Catholic Church and closer with my family and God is one of the greatest feelings ever. I know my family and God will always be there for me. During Confirmation, I helped out a lot of people in my community who couldn’t do much. It was great seeing them smile and be so thankful.
WKYC: What are your career aspirations?
Baughman: I want to be an orthopedist.
Highlight video courtesy LouisvilleLeopards.org
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