PORTLAND, Ore. — To say Marcella Cash has had a productive club soccer season would be like saying Carli Lloyd is just OK.
It’s understating at its best.
The Beavercreek High School rising junior just completed one of the all-time great seasons in the Elite Clubs National League, scoring 46 goals as her Ohio Elite team made it to the national semifinals, finishing fourth.
And as a result of her scoring surge, Cash earned an invite to the ECNL integrated national training camp at the University of Portland, where she has spent this week learning from some of the best, including top women’s professional team Manchester City. Cash is one of just 40 in three age groups attending the joint program between ECNL, Nike, International Champions Club, and US Club Soccer.
She was selected after attending a regional camp.
“They just seek you out,” Cash said during a break from training. “They watch and hear from other coaches, their opinions of some of the best players.”
Despite her impressive resume, Cash said she was “shocked” when she found out she was selected.
“There are so many people to choose from,” Cash said. “The odds that I was like one of them was slim.”
Nonetheless, Cash and the other players have been immersed in technical training sessions and games all week. Cash knows when she hits the field at Frank Zink Field this fall, she will be much-improved.
“I think it’s going to help me a lot,” Cash said. “My technical ability will be better and how I see the the field.”
That’s bad news for teams on the Beavercreek schedule because Cash was already pretty darn good. After scoring just eight goals as a freshman, Cash scored 23 in 20 games last season including three hat tricks. She was fifth in the Greater Western Ohio Conference with 48 points and third in goals.
That carried over into club play. In her first year with Ohio Elite, defenses had a hard time marking Cash.
“She’s very unique,” Coach Tim Lesiak said. “The most dangerous part about her, everybody in the country felt like they could deal with her. And kind of eliminate her. You can do that to a point. But over 80 minutes, she wears on you to the point that somewhere around 60 minutes into a game, she’s going to get you. It’s rare not to hear people say ‘we can’t stop that kid.’ ”
Lesiak said in his 10 years in the ECNL he has never had a player score as many goals as Cash did.
“She does a very good job of holding the ball because she’s so strong,” he said. “We kind of allow her to be what she is and she’s a goal scorer. She has a purpose. It it doesn’t work out, she’s looking for the next (scoring) opportunity.”
Cash credited Lesiak and Doug Bracken, director of coaching, along with the top-notch competition in the ECNL for her meteoric rise.
“My coaches helped me out,” she said. “They helped lead me to believe that I could be the player that I am. When I was in Seattle (for the ECNL playoffs) I got noticed for a lot of things. It boosted my confidence and helped me play better on the field.”
Cash is considering the University of Dayton and plans to visit the University of Louisville and the University of Texas this fall as well. She said is in no hurry to commit.
For now, she’s just focusing on playing. And of course, scoring.