Park Soccer Standout Schultz to D-I Memphis
WHEELING — Lauren Schultz was all smiles Thursday as she signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and soccer careers at the University of Memphis.
The Wheeling Park senior captain was joined by her mother, Briana Schultz, sister Krystal Schultz, Patriots athletics director Dwaine Rodgers and Park soccer coach Carrie Hanna inside the Wheeling Park Performing Arts Center as she committed to join the Tigers soccer program.
The Park forward was looked at by several small schools but after a visit to Memphis in February of 2017, her mind was made up.
“I got calls from Akron, Carnegie Mellon, some local schools and a few in Pittsburgh that I was considering,” Schultz said. “Memphis was the only one to give me a solid offer.
“I went for a visit and I loved everything about it. The city, the program, the coaches and all of the people there. Everything just felt right.”
Schultz had a stellar high school career on the pitch, helping Wheeling Park win a pair of OVAC championships in 2014 and 2017 and earning first team all-state honors during her senior campaign.
“Our soccer team always had fun,” Schultz said. “I am always going to remember that and being with all of my friends.”
She also collected All-Valley first team laurels in 2014, 2015 and 2017 and her skills made a lasting impression on Memphis head coach Brooks Monaghan.
“Their coach saw me play in tournaments in North Carolina and Florida,” Schultz said. “He was excited to get me to come down and he really wanted me on the team.”
Hanna, who led the Patriots on a memorable run to a regional title last season, confirmed that the Tigers are getting a one-of-a-kind player in Schultz.
“I’m very excited to see what Lauren does at the next level,” Hanna said. “She’s put a lot of time and effort in and she is a very skilled player and a tremendous athlete.
“She is very coachable and it was a true joy to watch her improve each year.”
Memphis started the season 6-0 last year and turned in a record of 11-6-3, while coming within one game of the American Athletic Conference Championship game.
The competition will certainly be at the highest level but Schultz has always flourished when the stakes are high.
“I definitely think that Lauren is the type of player that is going to thrive in a challenging environment,” Hanna said. “Going to a Division-I institution, she is going to be challenged. But I think she is the caliber of athlete and player who will take her game to the next level to compete at the next level.”