Running with the Broncos

Former Utica soccer player is now part of a Division I NCAA level program

By: Mark Vest | Shelby - Utica News | Published October 23, 2013

Rachel Chaney

Playing at the collegiate Division I level is the furthest most women’s soccer players will ever have the opportunity to go, and Rachel Chaney, a graduate of Utica High School, is one who can say she made it that far.

Chaney earned a scholarship to play soccer at Western Michigan University, and now in her junior season with the Broncos, it is an opportunity she is glad she received.

“I’ve loved playing for Western,” she said. “I really like the girls. We mesh really well together, on and off the field. I’ve had (a) really good experience here.”

In Chaney’s debut season for Western in 2011, she was named to the MAC All-Freshman Team. She followed that up in the 2012 campaign by being named Academic All-MAC and leading the Broncos in goals, game-winning goals and points, as her four goals and two assists gave her 10 points for the season.

So far this season, Chaney has three goals and two assists.

Chaney’s play at Utica earned her multiple All-District, All-Academic and All-Regional honors. She made the All-County team as a junior and was also a three-time All-State honorable mention.

Chaney credits support from her family, as well as coaches she has had along the way — such as Henry Steinwascher, who coached her at the club level — for helping her reach the Division I level.

“My parents were a big impact on where I am today,” she said. “Also, my club coach (Steinwascher). He really helped get my name out there to college coaches — helped me set up visits, along with my parents. (Utica coach Dave Moran) gave me advice about college soccer. He was my coach freshman to senior year.”

Chaney cited making it as far as a district final in her junior season, which she thought the program hadn’t accomplished in “many years,” as a favorite memory from her playing days with Utica. And for as many good experiences as she may have already had at Western, there is still something she would like to accomplish with her teammates.

“We make little goals in order to accomplish our main goal of a MAC (Mid-American Conference) championship,” she said. “It’s ‘focus on the next game; focus on the next game.’ That’s what we’ve been doing, and we’ve been successful.”

At press time, Western is 6-3-2 overall and 4-0-0 in the MAC.

Chaney is majoring in occupational therapy at Western and is in the grad program. After graduating, she said she would like to work with children.

And while she may be having fun playing for the Broncos, Chaney has also considered what life could be like post-college.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “Now that I got into my program and know what my goals are, (and) that I have a plan — I plan to execute them. I’m really excited to do that.”