Ever since she was a 7th grader at Saint Paul Catholic School in Valparaiso, Riley Lindsey could see herself playing college soccer. That vision became a reality Thursday when Lindsey, a pillar of the Marquette girls soccer program, announced her commitment to nationally-acclaimed North Central College.
"North Central is an advanced Division III program. I really like the (head) coach (Andrew Gamarra), and I felt very welcome there," Lindsey said.
Lindsey was surrounded by family, friends, and teammates at Thursday's signing. It was a fitting representation for a support system that has been in place for the entirety of her career. She especially praised the encouragement of her parents, Rod and Sarah, her sisters, and her grandparents.
"They've always supported me and pushed me to be my best on and off the field," Lindsey said.
Lindsey has been a four-year starter for the Blazers, having starred as keeper and midfielder. She amassed 305 saves across her freshman and sophomore campaigns. Since migrating to the field full-time as a junior, Lindsey has accounted for 24 goals, including a team-watermark 12 in 2019.
"Riley's teammates love her, and once you get to know her, it's easy to see why. She brings with her an energy and competitiveness that not only raises the level of those around her but also brings them together. She's left her mark on the girls program at Marquette, and we have no doubt that she will do the same at the collegiate level for North Central," head coach Ali Jamali said.
As strong as she is on the pitch, Lindsey's work in the classroom is even more sensational. A member of Marquette's early college program's (MQTT-U) inaugural class, she has already completed 43 dual-credits and is on track to collect 19 more by commencement. Lindsey touts a 4.16 cumulative grade-point average and is a strong favorite to graduate with summa cum laude honors.
"It has been a pleasure to watch Riley grow as a student-athlete these last three-plus years. North Central is getting not only a stellar soccer player but a championship-level person. Every student-athlete should strive to be more like her," Marquette director of athletics Katie Collignon remarked.
Lindsey plans to study pre-physical therapy.
In its most recent assessments, U.S. News & World Report ranked North Central College No. 27 in the nation in Best Value and No. 13 in Regional Universities Midwest. Forbes also included North Central College in its Top Colleges 2019.
An NCAA Division III member, the Cardinals compete in the CCIW (College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin). North Central College has captured a remarkable 40 team national championships, all since 1958.