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Scappoose Indians soccer defender says South Dakota NAIA school 'like home'

COURTESY: LOREN WOHLGEMUTH - Scappoose High's Shayna Redpath is headed to Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota, to play soccer and study nursing.At first, Scappoose High soccer standout Shayna Redpath wanted to stay close to home for college.

After all, her family has been a big part of her soccer career since she started at about age 3, as her coaches, support system and fans, attending pretty much every game, in Oregon or elsewhere.

But this is the digital and video and big tournament era. College coaches from around the country were able to see her play on their computers or at youth tournaments. And so the offers came from places she wouldn't have imagined, including several from the Midwest.

She visited Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois. And Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. And College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota. And Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Presentation seemed like a great fit.

"I knew I wanted a smaller school and want to be a nurse," she says. "The coach had seen my highlight videos and thought I could contribute to their program.

"I went there in July and practiced with the team and loved it. It was the first place that felt like home."

Redpath signed with the Saints and will report in early August for preseason soccer.

"Academically and athletically, everything seems to fit into place," she says.

Presentation is an NAIA school with about 800 students.

"The campus is small, but really beautiful," Redpath says. "They have a big cadaver lab, and I'll get guaranteed acceptance into their nursing program and a connection to the local hospital, where you get to do a lot of things and they have state-of-the-art technology."

Aberdeen is a city of about 28,000, 160 miles northeast of the state capital, Pierre.

"It's kind of like Scappoose," Redpath says.

Except there are two colleges — Northern State University being the other.

And except for the weather. The average low temperature is 7 degrees in December, 1 degree in January and 8 degrees in February. March warms up to an average high of 40 and average low of 20.

"I know it's going to be freezing," Redpath says. "I looked the other day and it was minus-19. My grandma and I checked later and it was only minus-3. But in the winter, they have a dome they put over the field so it stays 50 inside, and all the teams get to practice in there."

Redpath will be in a dorm with two or three roommates, including a couple of fellow Presentation soccer players, one of whom, Kelsey Smith, is a senior from Hillsboro who has played soccer with the sister of one of Redpath's club teammates. The dorm room is a suite, with a living room, kitchen, two bathrooms and four bedrooms,

"I loved the dorms," Redpath says. "My whole life I've shared a room with my sisters, so to have my own room is insane."

Why is she interested in nursing?

"I'm not exactly sure, but I have been ever since I was little. My mom's a nurse, and I've looked up to her and always wanted to be that person who got to help people," Redpath says.

Her parents and grandparents have been important to her growth as an athlete and soccer player as well.

"My parents coached me when I was growing up, in T-ball, softball, and I did track in middle school, but I always focused on soccer, and around sixth grade I started club soccer," she says, "and from then on, it's been school, soccer, school, soccer."

At Scappoose, she was a key defender and two-year captain on successful teams, including the 2015 Class 4A champions, who went 18-0-0.

"I loved high school soccer," she says. "My coach, Summer Jark, influenced me as a player and person so much."

Redpath, who also played for FC Columbia County under coach Simon Date, initially did not like playing defense, to say the least.

"I was the biggest little brat — I would hate it if they put me on defense," she recalls. "I'd sulk and be so upset. My mom told me I had to have a better attitude."

She moved to defense when she was in seventh grade, and that became her new home on the field.

"I really love to slide tackle," she says. "That's something I've picked up over the years. A lot of times I'm that last person, when everybody else gets beat. And for some reason I feel really comfortable being that last person before the other team has a chance on goal.

"And I like being able to see the whole field."

At 5-3, "I'm not a big defender, but I'm more muscular than a lot of the girls."

As a club soccer player (with FC Portland the past four-plus years), she has traveled to Seattle, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Nevada, and elsewhere for tournaments. After high school graduation, in June she'll play in Austria (and visit Germany and Italy), touring with a select team with girls from around the United States.

"When my mom was at Scappoose High, she played in Scotland and England, and my grandpa helped coach them. She was a midfielder, very aggressive, and one of my first and best coaches. But I've never been out of the country," Redpath says.

Soon, though, it will be time to focus on earning playing time with Presentation.

The Saints have hired a new coach, John Mclean, who was a graduate assistant coach with William Woods University's men's soccer program and volunteered on the women's coaching staff of the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2016. He came aboard at Presentation after Redpath signed her letter-of-intent.

"He seems really great," she says. "They said I should be starting as a freshman, which would be really cool."

And, as for playing college soccer for a school 1,442 miles from Scappoose?

"My parents say I can go for four years, as long as I come back," she says, with a laugh. "It's going to be weird — they don't love the fact that I'm that far away, but they know it's a really good opportunity."

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