Like many kids, Regan Lehman began her athletic career with a soccer ball at her feet.
But the recent Padua Academy graduate said her parents knew when Regan was just 4 that soccer was their daughter’s sport.
Photos: All-State girls soccer
Photos: All-State Golf
Photos: All-State girls lacrosse
Photos: All-State boys lacrosse
Photos: All-State softball
Photos: All-State baseball
Sure enough, as a Panda, Lehman won three consecutive state championships and earned an offer to play Division I soccer at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
Lehman capped off her high school soccer career by becoming the third Panda to earn All-American status. Perhaps more significantly, she was named Player of the Year by the Delaware Girls Soccer Coaches Association.
Lehman ran track and field, and played field hockey in high school, but she said nothing “stuck” like soccer.
“Everything I have gone through, all of the hard work and time really has paid off,” Lehman said. “Being state champs the third year in a row was really appropriate. If people only knew how hard Padua soccer really works, they would agree with me.
“Padua has done an outstanding job developing us not only into great soccer players but into great young women and I’m so happy to have the chance to play with them.”
“Technically, Regan is an exceptional player,” Padua coach Joe Brown said. “Her growth and her stages each year from her physical attributes, her strength, and her speed… she has just become a Division I athlete.”
With eight goals and 10 assists in her senior season, the midfielder leads by example in both athleticism and sportsmanship, Brown said. She did not receive a single yellow card in her four years at Padua.
Caesar Rodney head coach Darrell Gravatt faced Lehman several times, but most recently in the DIAA Division I state championship game, where Lehman scored the opening goal in Padua’s 3-1 victory.
“She just stood out and led her team to victory and that’s what good leaders do,” Gravatt said. “She was very positive and polite, but also a real warrior on the pitch.”
Both Brown and Gravatt praised Lehman’s ability in the air and in one-on-one situations.
Gravatt described the midfielder as “large and in charge” as well as composed in all situations. As a midfielder, Gravatt admired Lehman’s ability to be a dangerous scorer, with a “missle” from a distance.
Lehman is excited to experience college as a student athlete.
“I’ve always wanted to play in the South since I was a little girl,” Lehman said. “And to know they were looking at me was such an honor. I knew as soon as I met the coaches and met the players that this was the place for me.”
Lehman received a full athletic scholarship and plans to study kinesiology with a possible future in sports medicine or physical education.
North Carolina Greensboro head coach Michael Coll was hired after Lehman signed her letter of intent, but Coll, who previously coached at UNLV, believes Lehman has the physicality and tenacity needed to succeed.
“She has very, very positive [recruiting] notes, and I’m excited to coach her,” Coll said.
Lehman and the rest of the 2014-2015 women’s soccer team will report to Greensboro for preseason on Aug. 5.