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June 26, 2013

Fraser’s Rachel DeLuca to play soccer for Oakland University next season

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Fraser’s Rachel DeLuca to play soccer for Oakland University next season
Fraser’s Rachel DeLuca is pictured, right, during a game against L’Anse Creuse North last season. DeLuca will suit up for Oakland University next season.

An attribute that may often be found in athletes who have achieved at a high level is a lack of willingness to rest on their laurels.

Despite all that she accomplished during her high school soccer career at Fraser, if you talk to Rachel DeLuca, you may find that she is more interested in speaking about what she needs to do to succeed at the next level, as opposed to what she has already achieved.

After four years of suiting up for the Ramblers, DeLuca will be heading to Rochester to play for the Golden Grizzlies of Oakland University.

According to Fraser coach Thaier Mukhtar, DeLuca’s accomplishments include scoring 96 career goals in 89 games played, which he is confident is a program record, contributing 41 assists, and making the All-State team all four years of her career. He said she was also selected to the Dream Team, which recognizes the best players in the state, for her play last season.

Despite those accolades, DeLuca realizes that she may have to take her game to an even higher level to be successful at Oakland, where her sister, Nicole, also played college ball for four years.

“My work ethic is going to need to be a lot higher,” she said. “My competitiveness is going to need to be a lot higher. I’m going to need to be stronger. I think I need to work at that.”

Oakland’s gain is Fraser’s loss, and Mukhtar offered his thoughts on what she meant to the Ramblers’ program.

“In the last couple years, she proved to be the most dangerous player on the field any game we played,” he said. “She can hit the ball left and right foot; she can score inside of the box; she can score from 30 yards out. That really is what sets her apart from a lot of people: her ability to get off a quick shot and surprise the other team with a quick goal.

“What she gave us is a chance to win each and every game we got into, no matter who we played. That’s really what she meant to the program. She’s a great teammate, a great girl. Two-year varsity captain, which is not easy to do in our program.”

While DeLuca may be excited about the opportunity to take her play to Oakland, she also expressed appreciation for the time she spent as part of Fraser’s soccer program.

“I’m going to miss playing for Fraser,” she said. “A lot of the girls, we were really close. We were like a family. I’m going to miss my coach a lot. He did a lot for me. He expected a lot, but he pushed me through the years. Jesse VanGampelaere, she helped me out a lot. … Emily Bondy, she stepped up a lot. Ashly Skrok, she’s the one that contributed balls to me.

“I’m (going to) miss the four years I played. I played hard. Worked a lot.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.