Highline Community College mines Peninsula soccer talent

Highline Community College will be sporting a distinctly Alaskan look this fall.

The two-year junior college in Des Moines, Washington, recently added Nikiski High School senior Rachel Thompson to its soccer squad, which is beginning to form a connection with local talent.

Thompson — who signed her letter of intent April 15 — will be joined by Soldotna seniors Miranda Wolfe and Alex Ashe, both of whom signed letters to play in January. Wolfe’s sister, Kylee, was a freshman for the Thunderbirds in 2014, and is planning to return this fall, giving Highline four players from the central Kenai Peninsula.

“She is a natural leader on the team,” said Nikiski coach Troy Zimmerman about Thompson. “I think she’ll fit in well.”

Thompson is a lethal midfielder for the Bulldogs and has also drawn praise from local coaches as a well-rounded goalkeeper.

Located just south of Seattle, Highline’s soccer season runs from late August to early November. Last year, the Thunderbirds rolled to a 19-2-1 record.

Soldotna coach Jimmy Love said one of the reasons Miranda Wolfe chose Highline to begin her college education is because of her sister’s enrollment.

“I can’t get even into how excited I am for them,” Love said. “I’m really happy that Kylee got the opportunity and stuck with it, and that opened the door for Miranda and Alex.”

Love added that the program, being a two-year school, does well to place athletes in higher division schools after their time playing for the Thunderbirds.

Wolfe was Soldotna’s top goal scorer as a forward her freshman and sophomore years before missing last season due to an injury. In an online statement on the school’s website, Highline head coach Tom Moore said Wolfe is a great player.

“She has good size, impressive strength and brings an intensity that we thrive upon here,” Moore said. “She is a proven goal scorer, and her distribution is quality.”

Ashe, primarily a defender, is a two-time defensive MVP at SoHi, something that Moore did not miss.

“Alex is a versatile player who we think can help us in many areas,” Moore said. “She is a smart and very technical player who has great composure under pressure. Her speed is something that will fit in well on this team as well. It will be fun figuring out where she will impact us the most.”

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