Repas Blazes Trail for Future Soccer Players (by Norm Weber - News Sun)
BEREA, OHIO -- Being a soccer trailblazer is not always easy, even if the one blazing the trails comes from a talented soccer family.
Erica Repas, a sophomore at Baldwin Wallace University and an Avon High graduate, has started a trend that seems likely to continue, considering the rapid advance of the Purple Eagles' in girls' soccer.
Repas' younger sister, Megan, now a senior at Avon, has made a verbal commitment to Kent State University.
Jamie Meiser, another Avon grad, is playing as a a freshman at Ohio Athletic Conference rival Capital University. Brian Irwin, a central figure in building Avon girls' soccer, from youth coaching up to leading the scholastic varsity, is an assistant coach at Oberlin College.
Erica Repas gives her sister credit for making the move to the Division I level. "Even though she's younger, Megan was the one who got me going in soccer," Repas said. "We always knew she was going to play college soccer. We pushed each other."
In turn, Megan and dad Dan, an Avon assistant coach, pushed Erica enough for BW coach Reid Ayers to become interested.
"Playing college soccer was a thought I toyed with since my freshman year in high school," Erica Repas said. "After my overnight here, I knew this was where I was going."
Ayers wasn't sure she would be playing soccer at BW until late last year. An accomplished flute player, Repas was interested in the renowned music conservatory. Though she didn't get accepted in the highly competitive program, she enrolled at BW anyway, shifting her interest toward teaching high school chemistry and perhaps coaching.
Once she made her decision, Ayers offered Repas a spot on the soccer roster. Then, she had to sit out last season due to back pain repercussions from an auto accident when a senior at Avon.
Two months of physical therapy and chiropractic care gave her the go-ahead to play basketball for the Eagles, but Repas admitted that it didn't help the healing process.
The pain recurred during drills at BW. Even once given physician clearance, she was forced to sit down with five matches left in the season.
This season, with no sign of lingering pain, the center midfielder has contributed to the Yellow Jackets' 2-2-1 record.
In addition Erica and Megan, younger brother Ryan plays with the Avon freshman team. "A quick look at the calendar on our refrigerator shows not many blocks that don't say soccer," Erica Repas said. "The sport keeps our family busy."
She and Irwin were on opposing sides when BW recently visited Oberlin.
"My being in a game with him not as my coach was peculiar," Repas said. "Mrs. (Cherryle) Irwin always was cheering us on, making us laugh or encouraging us at Avon. She playfully grabbed my arm and said, Erica, I saw you elbowing my girls.'
"It did feel different, with her referring to Oberlin as my girls' instead of my teammates and me. That what she's always called us: my girls.' "
Repas gets another reunion, this time against Meiser, when the Jackets host Capital on Oct. 21 on Tressel Field at George Finnie Stadium.
Ayers realizes Repas might be just his first find along Ohio Route 611.
"Traditionally, BW's recruiting territory has been within a one-hour radius," he said. "We have had to go beyond that, but we realize the good soccer pool in the West Shore communities has extended beyond the Lorain County line.
"Because of players like Erica, places like Avon and Avon Lake have become places to find good soccer players. Five years ago, I don't know if that would have been the case."