March 28, 2018
Jamie Lehker remembers when she almost quit playing soccer as a child.
“When I was really little, I just didn’t like soccer very much,” the Badin High junior recalled. “I wasn’t going to keep playing, but the guy running the SAY soccer academy offered me a free soccer ball if I came back. So, I did … and I’m still here today.”
Is she ever – a standout on the pitch for Badin, and in another year Lehker will be playing Division I women’s college soccer at Northern Kentucky University after recently making a verbal commitment to the school in Highland Heights, Ky.
“I’m excited about it,” nodded Lehker, the daughter of Todd and Julie Lehker of Fairfield and a graduate of Sacred Heart School. “I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. I had some tough decisions to make but in the end I wanted to stay close to home and have my family get to see me play.”
Other schools that had shown an interest in the 5-foot-6, fleet-footed Lehker included Akron, Davidson and Youngstown State before she opted for the Norse. She plans to major in Biology as a prelude to Occupational Therapy.
“Big congratulations to Jamie on finding a home in the great program at NKU,” said Badin girls head soccer coach Todd Berkely. “She really came into her own this past season, taking over at center-back for an injured teammate.
“Her athleticism and versatility makes her one of those players a soccer program can’t do without,” Berkely added of Lehker, a first team all-Greater Catholic League player. “Her unselfish approach to the team allowed us to make adjustments that put us in a position to win another district championship. She plays multiple positions and plays them very well, making her a key player in the Badin program.”
Lehker has been a part of three consecutive district championship teams at Badin, and in the classroom is a National Honor Society student.
“It takes a lot of hard work, both when you’re playing and on your own,” Lehker said when asked what makes a D-I college soccer player. “Beyond talent, you have to have heart. You have to want to get yourself to the next level.”
Lehker plays for the Total Football Academy (TFA) club team, and her U-17 squad recently qualified for the national tournament in Texas.
Of playing for Badin, Lehker said, “It’s really exciting. You’re playing for your school; you’re playing under the lights. It’s an honor to play for your school.”
Badin Athletic Director Geoff Melzer called Lehker, “another outstanding soccer player who has helped keep Badin girls soccer on the map. She plays with great energy and you can tell there’s a lot of joy in her game. Northern Kentucky will be getting a terrific student-athlete in their program.”
While Lehker will have one more year with the Rams, she conceded that her high school years have gone by quickly.
“It feels like I just walked up the steps that first day freshman year, with the Class of 2016 welcoming us,” she nodded. “It has gone by so fast.”
Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, (513) 863-3993, ext. 120; Dallen@BadinHS.org