Parkland Press

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
CONTRIBUTED PHOTOAva Schaller recently committed to play soccer at Lehigh University. She celebrated the event at home with parents Greg and Toni. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOAva Schaller recently committed to play soccer at Lehigh University. She celebrated the event at home with parents Greg and Toni.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Parkland senior Ava Schaller earned All-State honors as a soccer player. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Parkland senior Ava Schaller earned All-State honors as a soccer player.

Schaller commits to play soccer at Lehigh

Thursday, April 30, 2020 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

It’s interesting how something like scheduling can change the road that a person winds up taking. As a young child, Ava Schaller’s mom was planning on signing her daughter up for cheerleading, but the schedule just didn’t work.

Toni Schaller looked around for other things that might work and found soccer. We’ll never know if Ava Schaller would have made a good cheerleader, but we do know that her soccer career worked out well.

Schaller recently signed a letter of intent to attend Lehigh University on an athletic scholarship that she earned through her playing days at Parkland High School. Her high school career finished with her being the ninth all-time scorer in the high school’s history, which stood out to her college coach Eric Lambinus, who commented on Schaller’s skills when her signing was announced on the college’s website.

“There is something special about a goal scorer, and that is exactly what Ava is,” Lambinus said. “She displays a hunger to score that dictates her movement, body positioning and instincts around the goal. We’ve seen her score in so many different ways that only true goal scorers display and that will definitely translate to the college game.”

For Ava Schaller, having the ability to put the ball into the back of the net just came easily.

“It was always just an instinct,” said Schaller of her scoring ability. “I never really had to change much of what I was doing or anything. As I learned the game better, I just developed that instinct to make plays and score goals.”

As for why Lehigh, Schaller had the usual reasons like loving the campus and the fact that it was close to home so her friends and family will be able to see her play. She also had another reason for choosing Lehigh that had more to do with academics.

“I wanted to go somewhere that I would be challenged academically and know that I was getting a good education,” said Schaller, who will major in education. “I was really impressed because the coach would call me and wanted to know my grades after each marking period. He really stresses academics and that’s the type of environment that I want to be a part of.”

In her high school career, Schaller was named to the All-State team and was a first-team EPC All-Star with the Lady Trojans winning four conference championships and three District 11 championships.

In addition to her success in high school, Schaller is proud of the fact that her club team, the Lehigh Valley United, won three straight state cup championships over the last three seasons as the team reached number three in the national rankings. Schaller also played in the Olympic Development Program, leading her team in scoring just as she did with the Lehigh Valley United.

“I’m really proud of winning three state cups with my club team and I think when I look back, I’ll remember that,” said Schaller. “Personally though, I’m going to miss all of the friendships that I made at Parkland and I loved the chance to play there and be a part of good teams. It was great to have such a good experience both with my club team and my high school team.”

Looking down the road, Schaller hopes to be able to teach pre-school or elementary students after graduation. She also wants to be able to find time to either coach soccer or possibly do some personal training work to stay connected to sports.

“After everything that we’ve gone through this year, it’s nice to look ahead and think about going to Lehigh and being on the soccer field again,” admitted Schaller. “I’m really fortunate to have the chance to play Division 1 soccer and to be able to play close to home. It really is a great situation for me.”