Davenport Assumption junior Rose Ripslinger calls Iowa City her second home because of how often she goes there to play for her Iowa City Alliance club soccer team.
When she starts college in 2014, it will become her primary home.
Ripslinger, the two-time player of the year in Iowa, committed to play soccer for Iowa on Thursday, choosing the Hawkeyes over Marquette and allowing her to fulfill her goal of playing Division-I soccer while staying near her family.
“I go there three times a week, and it’s a place I know really well,” Ripslinger said. “It’s the most comfortable decision for me. It would have been weird for me (to go far away). I’m a pretty strong family person, and I didn’t want to be too far away from my family.”
In addition to its location, Ripslinger chose Iowa because of its strong physical therapy program and its improving soccer team. The Hawkeyes have yet to reach the NCAA Tournament or win a postseason game since the program started in 1997, but have qualified for each of the past four Big Ten tournaments under coach Ron Rainey and posted a 12-6-3 record this season.
“Over the years, they’ve gotten a lot better,” Ripslinger said. “When I went to see them, they played (national runner-up) Penn State and only lost 2-1, and should have beaten them. It was cool to see the level of play, and it was something to look forward to with the program improving so much.”
Assumption coach Rob Eckert said he thought the fit would be a great one for Ripslinger. He cited her speed and tactical awareness as assets that he thinks will translate well for her at the college level. He expects Ripslinger to lift the Hawkeyes to another level, much like she’s done for the two-time 1A state champion Knights.
“The girls soccer program at Iowa has continued to get better year after year, and they’ve brought in some really quality girls,” Eckert said. “With Rose’s help, they’ll be able to get even farther.”
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Ripslinger said her goal was to choose her college by the end of the year, and she was equally thrilled to join a Division-I program and end the recruiting process.
“When I started the process, the idea of a D-1 school kind of frightened me,” Ripslinger said. “But as I was getting support from my friends, they helped me realize that this might be the last four years of soccer in my life. That’s when I decided D-1 was what I wanted to do.
“It was a huge relief. The decision has been on my mind constantly for the past few months, and it weighs heavy on your shoulders. It’s a big thing choosing where you’re going to be for the next four years. I’m confident in my decision, and I’m very glad it’s over.”