Penn Hills’ Clayborn to continue soccer career in college

Thursday, December 12, 2019 | 5:07 PM

Several Penn Hills girls soccer players have gone on to play at the collegiate level in recent years. Midfielder Taylor Clayborn is the most recent Indian to make her college decision.

After careful consideration, Clayborn committed to Thiel on Dec. 5. This moment has been something Clayborn has dreamed about for many years and is excited for what the future holds.

“I had opportunities with the other schools but I felt this was the biggest one. Every time they came to see me play, I felt like I played my best. They are the ones that showed the most interest in me,” Clayborn said.

Clayborn, who helped the Indians finish 5-11-2 overall and 1-10-1 in Section 3-AAAA, was exploring opportunities to play at Wright State, Georgetown, Duquesne and Allegheny.

But something about Thiel’s constant interest appealed to Clayborn, who is part of the Beadling Soccer Club.

Clayborn, who will major in English with her eyes on getting certified in secondary education, will join a Thiel program that finished 6-12 overall with a 1-7 record in Presidents’ Athletic Conference under coach Becky Scroger.

She visited Thiel on Nov. 23 and hopes to provide much needed help in the midfield where she can utilize her vision of the pitch.

“I feel like the past few years I’ve been growing my confidence and my strength on and off the ball. I feel like my movement is a lot better from when I was a freshman to how I am now,” Clayborn said.

“I’m going to keep working on my touches and build my strength and speed to get where I need to be next year.”

Clayborn, who remembers starting to play at age 7 and playing competitive at 10, is grateful for the life lessons learned through the sport.

“With high school and club soccer, I feel like I was able to really grow as a person. It has been able to give me different views on many different subjects, not only soccer. It was able to let me figure out what I really want to do in life,” Clayborn said.

Clayborn is the second member of the Indians to make her college decision — midfielder Sierra Hankey decided to attend Washington & Jefferson.

Hankey led the Indians with 11 goals this season.

“They brought a lot of drive. They wanted to get better every day. They weren’t people who just wanted to settle,” coach Ashley DeVito said.

“They were always looking to grow and improve; that’s why they are going to be so successful on the next level because they want to get better and are willing to put in the work to get better. You can’t coach that, and you can’t teach that.”

Recent Penn Hills grads Autumn Blair (Waynesburg) and Simone Glenn (LaRoche) also are playing at the college level.

“It means the girls love to play and are excited to play and want to continue that passion,” DeVito said. “That’s something I’m proud of since it represents that they enjoyed what they did here, and it meant enough to them that they wanted to continue to pursue it. It instills in me that we’re doing something right here with our program.”


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