By: Evan Wechman
St. Joseph’s University, in Philadelphia, Pa, will be receiving a welcome addition from West Orange next fall. Senior soccer star Natalie Nevins will be rewarded for her hard work both on and off the field, with a scholarship to play soccer at the Division 1 collegiate level.
The co-captain of the West Orange High School soccer team reached a tremendous achievement this past September when she scored both her 50th goal and 50th assist in her career, a school record. This occurred during a 4-0 win over Belleville. Her winning attitude also carries into the classroom as she currently ranks in the top 5% of her class.
She has been playing on the varsity squad since her freshman year, all under the guidance of Coach Sean Devore, last year’s NJ.com Coach of the Year. Besides Nevins’ latest accomplishment, she helped lead the Mountaineers in winning a county and state sectional championship last year. Despite reaching such lofty goals, Nevins is not resting on her laurels. According to her, she would like to be one of the final selections for the All-American game, and help the team defend their championship.
Soccer is definitely a family affair for Natalie as she is the daughter of former high school soccer star Doug Nevins who also played professionally for a brief time. Doug is currently the head coach of the boys varsity soccer team at the same school. Due to this influence, Natalie has been playing soccer since the age of 5.
Both Nevins’ and Coach Devore credit this unique background in fostering a student with a great attitude. The senior midfielder recalls that “watching my Dad’s teams win championships instilled in me a culture of winning and made me feel like I had no choice but to continue their legacy of greatness and fulfill one of my own.” According to Coach Devore, the West Orange star is a “great kid,” who is “very grounded which comes from her family.”
Besides being a great athlete, both Natalie and her coach are aware that she will have to get physically stronger to compete on a larger stage, as well as adjust to the heightened speed of the game. However, they agree that this budding collegiate star will gladly tackle any challenges in her way.
The student- athlete states “adjusting to a new environment both on and off the field will be a struggle at first, but I am really excited to take on this new challenge. I have learned that when I allow myself to step outside my comfort zone, I grow as a person and ultimately I think carrying a positive mindset along with this, will prepare me for any obstacles that I might face.”
Nevins’ maturity is also exemplified by her stating that she is not in a rush to start on the college team next year as a freshman, but “would like to come in and have an impact as much as possible right away.”
This mature look at facing things head on, extends off the field to St. Josephs’ rich academic offerings as well. She is excited about studying journalism and maybe even graduating with a major in English. There is no telling what’s in store for the future of this bright, and focused teenager. However, she knows the lessons she has learned from soccer and her studies, will help prepare her for whichever path she chooses.
Nevins states “I would love to have a career that involves writing,” but thinks “soccer will fit into my adult plans as I would love to stay involved with the sport.”