Midfielder Rebecca Bohler is one of the few club soccer players on Lakeside's roster, and she wouldn't have it any other way.
The Athlete Spotlight is on Lakeside senior Rebecca Bohler.
"We're not a team like Marist where everyone plays soccer all year round," she said. "We're a blue collar team. We've gotten as far as we have because we gave 100 percent every time we were on the field."
Lakeside lost to Marist 3-2 in the AAAA state soccer finals Saturday at Panther Stadium.
The 18-year-old senior's aggressive and unselfish play are big reasons the Lady Panthers made it to the finals, though she downplays her efforts.
"We've all been playing well," she said. "Everyone's done an amazing job on this team."
Bohler began kicking soccer balls soon after she learned to walk. She said her brother Rob took up the sport, and she followed his lead. She has since played on many traveling teams and was in the Patriots Select Soccer program.
All the work paid off.
Bohler posted 27 goals and 42 assists last season.
Lakeside soccer coach Donny Rogers refers to Bohler as one of his big three.
"Rebecca, Jamie Lake and Susanne Rogers are my three weapons," Rogers said. "You may be able to stop two of them, but the other one's going to get by you."
There are also important intangibles Bohler brings to the team, Rogers said.
"She's one of the few players we have that comes from a club ball background," he said. "That's given her a lot of experience she shares with the other players. She's also a natural leader on the field."
Beyond the statistics, Bohler's 5-foot, 1-inch frame and outgoing personality conceal a take-no-prisoners attitude on the field.
"People who know me off the field and then watch me play tell me they can't believe it's the same person," she said. "Soccer is an aggressive sport. If you're not aggressive, you're not going to win."
Her aggression and skill impressed the coaches at Alabama's Samford University, who recruited Bohler as a forward for next season. She is the only senior player for Lakeside planning to pursue a collegiate soccer career.
"Soccer's been such a big part of my life," she said. "I'm not ready to let it go just yet."
Still undecided about a career path, she did say it won't be soccer related.
"I think at that point I'll be ready to move on to new things," she said. "Life is unpredictable, which is what makes it so great. I'm sure I'll find something, and when I do, I'll put everything I've got into it."
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