CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (BVM) — There are not many better soccer players who have come through the Chillicothe, Ohio area than Addie Erslan. In fact, she may very well be the best. Erslan holds Chillicothe High School’s girls soccer program record for goals scored, and has helped lead her team to new heights during her time there.
Also a track athlete and basketball player, Erslan began her soccer career in a rec league that her parents signed her up for, and officially began playing club soccer when she was 8 years old. But what initially attracted the 18-year-old to playing soccer might not be what you think.
“I kept going for the snacks,” Erslan said with a laugh. “I really enjoyed the snacks they had after the game. But when I was 8 I decided I wanted to be a little more committed to soccer and I really enjoyed it.”
During her youth soccer career, Erslan first began playing locally in Chillicothe with First Capital Football Club. By eighth grade, she started playing for Freedom Soccer Club, giving her a first-hand look at competition that was around her same skill level.
As a high schooler, Erslan has played club soccer for Ohio Galaxies, who she will continue to play with after her fall high school season has ended. Erslan has also spent time in the Olympic Development Program (ODP) with US Youth Soccer, which has given her beneficial experience for her career on the pitch.
“ODP has been really great for my soccer development,” Erslan said. “I started in sixth grade and it was definitely a new experience for me. Overall, my experience with ODP really helped me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable while being around players who were just as good or better than me.”
No matter what kind of competition she has played against over the years, Erslan has maintained an unmatched competitive drive. She strives to be the best while also making her team better, and puts in the work to make that happen, day in and day out.
“I’m just naturally competitive,” Erslan explained. “No matter what it is whether it’s playing one-on-one basketball or board games, I always want to win. That’s what always has driven me and soccer is something I’m good at so I’ve really been able to use my competitive spirit in that environment.”
While out on the field, Erslan can be found playing midfielder or forward. One of the best attributes of her game is her field vision, and her ability to set people up. But Erslan has no problem putting the ball in the net herself, and has proved her scoring ability as well during her four seasons at Chillicothe High School.
Growing up, Erslan often looked up to many U.S. National Women’s Soccer team members. But perhaps her biggest role model was former Chillicothe soccer star, Payten Davis, who graduated in 2016 — just before Erslan began her prep career.
Four years later, Erslan has ended up having a comparable if not better high school career as her role model. The 18-year-old came in excited as a freshman, and had an impressive first season as forward for the Cavaliers, playing and scoring more than she thought she might.
By her sophomore season, Erslan was recognized as the player of the year in the Frontier Athletic Conference. But being the humble team-player that she is, the Chillicothe senior credits her teammates for such a great season.
“I credit that award to the great role models I had on the team,” Erslan said. “That year, the senior class was really good to me and everybody on the team just came together.”
Erslan would become even better as a junior. Going into the 2019 season, her role would change, as she became not only a team captain, but also moved positions from forward to attacking-mid. The results ended up being nothing short of spectacular.
The soccer star would go on to score 33 goals while dishing out 11 assists for the Cavaliers as a junior. Her exceptional play would also earn her a spot on the United Soccer Coaches Girls All-Central Region team. It was another special year for Erslan personally, but what she really relished the most is becoming a team leader, and that has carried into her senior season as well.
“I’ve loved it so much,” Erslan said about her senior season. “All my years have been great, but this year has been my favorite season so far because I do have a different role and being able to lead the girls is really rewarding.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a halt on sports, Erslan was not able to play soccer until later in the summer. However, she used the time off to workout — becoming faster and stronger — and it has paid off in her senior season at Chillicothe.
Going into the fall, the soccer star was not even expecting to have a season, and is thankful for every day she has been able to play with her Chillicothe teammates. As the lone senior on the Cavaliers’ squad, Erslan has been able to lead her team again with some strong play, while also accomplishing many milestones.
Early in the season, Erslan scored her 96th career goal, breaking the program record held by her former role model in Davis. Soon after, she would reach the 100-goal milestone as well. Despite the truly impressive accomplishments, Erslan’s number one goal is doing what it takes for her team to be successful.
“The goal record isn’t something that I was even really going for,” Erslan said. “I really just want to be the best player that my team needs me to be, whether that means being in position to score, setting people up, or being a defensive player. If I focus too much on my personal accolades, I think it hurts the team so I focus on being more of a team player.”
Erslan has also been in a battle throughout her senior season with Southeastern High School’s Sierra Mitten for the Ross County all-time goals scored record. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers as a whole have had a lot of success, and hope to make a deep postseason run over the next couple weeks.
As they attempt to make that run, they continue to be at the hands of great leadership with head coach Tyler Wickham. Erslan was actually coached by Wickham during club soccer throughout her youth, and has formed a tight relationship with him throughout the years.
“Tyler has been my coach since I was 9 or 10,” Erslan said. “He’s been a great coach and a great friend through the years. A lot of my soccer knowledge comes from him and it’s going to be hard to graduate and leave because he’s been my coach for so many years and our relationship has meant a lot throughout those years.”
Next fall, Erslan will go on to play for coach Jonathan Meade at Cedarville University. The Chillicothe senior is excited to be able to play college soccer at the DII level, and hopes she can have a similar impact there as she has had for the Cavaliers.
“I’m excited to keep playing,” Erslan said. “I went to a couple camps there my sophomore year and the environment was super positive and I just kind of had a feeling that this is where I was supposed to be for my college career. The team is really nice and the coaches have been great to me. I hope that I can get playing time right off the bat and be a good team player there as well.”
Beyond college, Erslan hopes to stay involved with soccer in any way she can. Specifically, she is looking to become a coach, perhaps back in Chillicothe. If she does become a coach back in her hometown, she will continue to add to the impressive mark she has already left on her community during her high school soccer career.
“I hope that people remember me as not only a great player but also a great person,” Erlsan said. “And I hope that I just left a positive legacy.”