PITSBURG – Franklin Monroe senior Nychelle Cool signed her letter of intent Wednesday afternoon to play soccer at Indiana University East where she’ll reunite with her cousin and former high school teammate Bryanna Diceanu.
Cool, the daughter of Danyelle Cool and John Johnson, said she’s excited to continue her soccer career at a higher level alongside her cousin.
“I’m excited, really excited,” the Franklin Monroe senior said. “I’m more looking forward to being at the bigger level and being able to play soccer with Bryanna again, being on the field with her.”
Having a cousin who plays for IU East, Cool heard a lot about the Red Wolves, who finished their inaugural season 6-7-4 this past fall. The excitement around the program plus the proximity to home drew Cool to IU East.
“I got told that they have a good program,” Cool said. “Bryanna talked a lot about it. And I had to decide between this and Anderson (University) and I chose IU East because again the program and it’s closer to home.”
Danny Diceanu, Franklin Monroe’s girls soccer coach and father of Bryanna, said it’s great to see two Franklin Monroe players reuniting at the college level.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “I think they’ll complement each other well. They get along on and off the field so I think it’s a win-win situation for both girls. And for the program, I think IU East is getting a great person and a good athlete and a solid player.”
Cool had a tryout with the IU East women’s soccer team a few weeks ago, Red Wolves coach Shane Meridith said, and it was evident early on that she would fit in well with the team.
“It is clear that she enjoys playing soccer and those things,” Meridith said. “It didn’t take me but 15 minutes to say, ‘OK, this is going to be a good fit.’”
Diceanu was second among IU East players in scoring last season six goals and a team-leading seven assists so Meridith is excited about adding another player from the FM pipeline, one in whom he sees a lot of potential.
“We had a great deal of success with getting Bryanna Diceanu from here last year, and she was second team all-conference,” Meridith said. “And so adding Nychelle, who comes from the pedigree of Coach Danny and all that, we’re really excited. She is a young woman that is full of confidence. She showed when she came and played with us that she is up for any challenge and wasn’t backing down from the competition at the level of play, which is not all that common quite frankly. So we’re really excited about that. I’m also excited because I think she could play a couple different positions for us on the field … somewhere as a back or in the midfield, which is in the back line where we’re a little bit thin at right now so maybe she’s in there challenging early for a position.”
Coach Diceanu thinks Cool will adapt to the college game very quickly. She’s athletic, physical and quick to pick up concepts, he said.
“She’s very physical so I think the physical nature of the college game will be fine for her,” the Franklin Monroe coach said. “I think she’ll adjust real well.”
Cool, who plans to study education in college, hopes to play to the best of her abilities in college and contribute to the IU East program.
“Just to do the best I can out there, not get down on myself if something doesn’t go well,” she said. “Just do the best I can out there.”
Coach Diceanu is excited for Cool and also hopeful that her decision to play college soccer will inspire more Franklin Monroe players to pursue the game at higher levels.
“I think it’s great for the program,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing that’s happening, getting two kids back to back going to a school and playing soccer, and hopefully that will urge other players or other kids that may have expectations to continue to improve and maybe take the path that these girls have taken.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.