Leesburg, Va. — Riverside High School rising junior Celia Eitzel has made an early verbal commitment to continue her soccer career at Miami University of Ohio beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year.
“I chose Miami because it really is the perfect school for me. I also love the team atmosphere and coaches,” the 5-foot-7 Eitzel said. “The academics are amazing, and they prepare students very well to be successful in life after Miami. The campus is gorgeous and everything from their student centers to their athletic complex is perfect. Miami is a place I would go even without soccer; it’s where I can see myself at my best.”
Located in Oxford, just 30 miles from Cincinnati, Miami University is the tenth oldest public university in the United States. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Miami the 30th top public university in the country.
On top of its academic reputation, Miami has a storied women’s soccer program which has won four Mid-American Conference tournament championships and appeared in four NCAA soccer tournaments.
For the program’s entire history, the Division I RedHawks have been led by head coach Bobby Kramig. In his 20th season at the helm, Kramig led Miami to an 8-9-2 record in 2016, including a 5-4-2 mark in the MAC.
“I am a very motivating player and think I can add that to the team by holding myself and future teammates to a high standard,” said Eitzel, who will play keeper for the RedHawks.
Before heading to Miami in 2019, Eitzel hopes to lift Riverside to championship glory in her final two seasons in Leesburg. In just the school’s second year, Eitzel helped the Lady Rams to a 12-9-2 finish in 2017, finishing runners up in Conference 28 and the VHSL 3A East region.
“Playing at Riverside has really been amazing. I was extremely nervous to go out freshman year and play against all these great upperclassmen, but once I got on the field, all that went away,” said Eitzel, who plays club soccer for Loudoun 01G Red. “Going into this past year as a sophomore, I wasn’t nervous at all and couldn’t wait to play those older girls. We have the best coaches and continue improving so much. Getting through playoffs and going to the state semis was the best experience ever, and I couldn’t ask to have any other team with me.”
After a trip to the state playoffs in 2017, Riverside will have their work cut out for them in 2018 when they reclassify to 4A and have to compete against some of the top teams in the state. Eight different teams in the newly aligned Dulles District for 2017-2019 have competed in a state championship game since 2010, including 2015 and 2016 VHSL 4A state champion Loudoun County High School; 2014 VHSL 4A state champion Dominion High School; and 2012 and 2013 VHSL AA state champion Woodgrove High School.
Eitzel and the Lady Rams are motivated to push through the challenge to continue competing at the highest level.
“I play because I love the sport. I love pushing myself to be better, and soccer is how I do that,” Eitzel said. “I couldn’t imagine playing anything else.”