by Martin McConnell
Brecksville-Broadview Heights senior Shea Vidovic is in perhaps the most elite company in all of high school athletics. There were 62 girls soccer players crowned as High School All-Americans this year, and Vidovic has been selected to those ranks for the fall 2022 season.
Vidovic’s head coach, Justin Thacker, has watched Vidovic grow up as a player throughout her high school career. He spoke highly of his star forward.
“She’s great from top to bottom,” Thacker said. “She can play everywhere. She played in the midfield, she played on the wings. She’s fast with the ball, so much so, that most players that don’t have the ball can’t keep up with her.
Having a presence such as Vidovic on the team, he explained, opens up the playbook for him to create so many more opportunities for the Bees.
“She’s just so hard to handle because she can make changes on the fly, in the game, that coaches can’t adjust to,” Thacker said. “[Coaches change the] game plan from taking that player out of the game to limiting their opportunities.”
In addition to giving opposing coaches fits, Vidovic has become a valuable asset for the morale of the Bees as a team. Off the field, she has become a beacon of positivity and togetherness for the team.
“She’s that kind of person, where it’s not a varsity team and a JV team. You’re part of the program,” Thacker said. “She’s inclusive that way. That doesn’t always happen with seniors, especially seniors that are quality players.”
Vidovic herself said that her love of soccer is like a flame that nearly went out. According to her, playing sports is “(her) whole personality,” and thanks to Thacker’s coaching style at the local Bees Soccer Academy team, she was able to keep that piece of herself intact.
“It just became not enjoyable, I was stressing before every single game, I didn’t even want to go at that point,” Vidovic said of her childhood soccer escapades. “I think my love of soccer really came back once I hit high school soccer. I was playing with a bunch of my friends from school, and two, Justin just made it so enjoyable for me.”
Vidovic will play in college at the College of Charleston, where Brecksville soccer grad Allison Stucky also attends. She said she does not expect any immediate playing time, but hopes that opportunities come her way with more hard work.
“I know as a freshman, you can’t expect anything big,” she said. “I’m just really hoping with [the work] I’m doing now, it’s just going to help me. I need to really work for it, because it’s going to be a high level there for sure.”
Thacker has a different story. He expects Vidovic to garner immediate playing time, and explained that he is anxious to see how the leader of this Bees team will impact the field at the next level.
“Her at the next level is going to be her doing what she does on the wing,” Thacker said. “I think the opportunity for her to play is there right off the bat, and that’s what she’s going to be expected to do… As far as having Shea as somebody that represents our program, what can’t you say?” ∞