Ali Rhinaman prepares for third season with the women’s soccer team

With the fall 2021 semester officially in full swing, much of the Hilltop has been filled with excitement for this year’s soccer campaigns. Much of this excitement has been placed upon the WLU women’s soccer team. After the shortened eight game 2020-21 season, there was much to be left on the table in regards to the overall goals and achievements the Lady Hilltoppers were striving to achieve. One individual in particular who has been around the team to understand what this squad is wanting to accomplish is Ali Rhinaman.

Rhinaman, a spring 2021 All-MEC Honorable mention, is in the beginning stages of her third season playing for the black and gold. She has been no stranger to success throughout her entire playing career, as she was a four time All-County at Boonsboro (Md.) High School. As a freshman in 2019, Rhinaman was named to the MEC All-Freshman team, along with the MEC All-Academic Team. Being a criminal justice major, Rhinaman believes it is just as important to succeed academically as it is to succeed on the field for West Liberty.

When Rhinaman was asked about the course of her playing career, particularly the journey she has taken to reach this point in her craft, she had many positive outlooks. “Soccer has been in my life for as long as I can remember. I have been playing soccer for probably about fifteen years now, beginning when I was around the age of five” said Rhinaman. “Technically, I would argue even longer because I would go to my older sisters’ practices and games and would always be kicking the ball around.”

Those memories are some of the best for Rhinaman, and when asked what her favorite memory was in her playing career, she replied saying that, “my favorite thing about playing soccer is all the people that were brought into my life because of it. I have met so many families that I will always have a connection with. My favorite memory in my soccer career was getting to play high school soccer with my older sister, Emily. At the time, I was a freshman and she was a senior. Even more specifically, she assisted a goal to me to tie a playoff game that we ended up ultimately winning.”

It is easy to understand that the West Liberty women’s soccer team wanted to begin their season 2-0, but they are content with a 1-1 start, especially given the youth of this squad.

Rhinaman said, “these past two games, our team has shown that we are capable of playing high quality soccer. We have the skill and team chemistry to be able to see the outcomes of games fall into our favor..” With conference play beginning quite early, it is refreshing to hear the visions the Lady Hilltoppers have for themselves..

Finally, Rhinaman recognizes that there is much ahead in regards to life beyond Hilltopper soccer. When asked about her plans for the future, she stated that, “I am not quite sure what I will do after playing college soccer. My dad has been giving me the idea of playing for semi-pro teams around my area, but that’s just a possibility. I definitely will not be ready to leave the soccer atmosphere, so there may be some coaching in my future.”

Positive attitudes shown by Rhinaman has undoubtedly progressed onto her teammates, which makes this squad in particular so fun to watch on the field. There is a long way ahead for the team, but they have quite the ways to go to gear up for a Mountain East Conference title run starting Nov. 8.