El Dorado’s Marleigh Bonsall announced on social media this week that she committed to play soccer at Ouachita Baptist University.
Bonsall, who will be a senior this season, earned All-State honors for the Lady Wildcats and competed for Texarkana Soccer Club during the summer.
“I chose OBU because I know that not only on the field but also in the classroom, I will be pushed to my best potential,” Bonsall said. “The coach at OBU used to coach me in club and his coaching style fits me perfectly. He is a really good coach but also a very tough coach but that’s what I need to keep improving my game and I know that no matter what, he will push me and encourage me throughout the college journey.
“When I arrived for the tour at OBU, I knew in that moment that the school was for me and I wanted to try my best to be able to play soccer there. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but that’s what I had my mind set to and I’m so excited that I achieved it. Also, a plus is that I will be going to college with my big sister.”
Bonsall led El Dorado with 47 goals and 10 assists during a season that reached the 5A State semifinals.
Bonsall said college soccer coaches can’t talk to high school students until their junior year. As a high school student, she had to assist in her own recruiting by reaching out to colleges and attending camps.
“When I started getting serious about wanting to play in college, my family and I got started on NCSA (Next College Student Athlete). None of us had ever been through the recruiting process so we didn’t know where to start,” she said. “NCSA has helped majorly with getting a recruitment coach that helped me contact coaches and made sure I kept my profile up to date and continued to reach out even if I got no response the first time. I researched and contacted many coaches through the past year or so. Some contacted me back and some didn’t which is O.K. When they didn’t contact me back, I moved on and kept reaching out to other schools. Colleges like Central Baptist, Mount Olive, Oklahoma Baptist, and Jacksonville University were a few that have stayed in contact with me through the process. Even though I had other colleges interested, OBU felt like the best decision for me and I know that I made the right decision and I am so excited.”
The striker said she’s thrilled to get the recruiting process concluded before her senior year begins.
“I don’t think I committed super early. A lot of the 2023 recruits have been committed since like March. Personally, I felt like I needed to really put some thought into it and go to the camp to get a for-sure answer before I committed to something major for the next four years of my life.
“Although the recruitment process is one of the most stressful things and I am glad to be out of it, it is also a really fun process. I loved getting to communicate with coaches and see how their program is ran, making highlight videos, etc. However, It does feel like a weight is lifting off my shoulders. I am excited to have a stress-free year, not having to worry about getting seen by coaches. Now I just can focus on training and getting fit for this high school season and the college level.
“Overall, I am so thankful that Coach Kevin (Wright) has given me this opportunity to play at the next level. It’s been a dream of mine and I can’t believe this dream is a reality.”