Quakertown Trio to Play Collegiate Soccer

On Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, Quakertown seniors Haley Pursel, Kyra Handel and Ashley Gluck were recognized for committing to continue their soccer careers at the collegiate level. To view photos of the event, please visit the Photo Gallery at the following link:  https://solsports.zenfolio.com/f192587503

“These three have had an unbelievable impact on our program,” coach Mike Koch said. “Personally, they’ve all had an impact on me as well. They’re obviously very good soccer players, but they’re even better people. We had a lot of success during their tenure here, and the leadership they provided and the example they set – I have never seen and I don’t think I’ll ever see it again. It was an incredible, incredible run for them. They took ownership of the team and led us to heights we have not been to before, including a playoff run their junior year, a league championship their sophomore year. They were the gear that drove everything.
“All three of them were on all-league teams. Haley was three-time first team, Kyra was second team and Ashley was first team. They led us to a (league) championship, they led us to the furthest advancement the program has had, and more than anything, I think they made all of us better people.”

Ashley Gluck – California University of Pennsylvania (Soccer)
Reasons for choosing CalU:  “I was looking at a few schools, but I didn’t really find any interesting. When I visited, I fell in love with the coach and I fell in love with the campus, and I just knew right there and then it was the place for me.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in soccer at the collegiate level?  “I’ve always known I wanted to play since I was little, but it really started to hit me and realize I wanted to play in college because I didn’t want my four years in high school to be the end of it.”
Coach Mike Koch says“Ashley has been our leading scorer the last two years. She is a punishing attacker, a relentless attacker. She puts people under pressure, she frustrates them, she gets them mad, but she plays with a relentless passion. I know she’ll bring that collegiately and do the same thing. She’s always very encouraging to her teammates. Last year, we had a more difficult league schedule, and for us to be successful, a lot of times we had to put her on an island up top and play by herself, which is really, really hard. She did that, and she never complained. She’s just been a great player for our program and a great leader as well.”
About Ashley:
Favorite food: 
Sloppy Joes
Favorite TV show:  Gray’s Anatomy
Favorite music:  Rock

Kyra Handel – Ursinus College (Soccer)
Final list of colleges: Ursinus, Bloomsburg, California University (Pa.)
Reasons for choosing Ursinus:  “I really just loved the environment there. When I did my overnight, literally everyone I met was an athlete, and I really liked that because it’s so much easier to click with an athlete when you also are an athlete. This is the coach’s second year, and the last school she coached at – she was able to take a school that (wasn’t good), and they won their division. I’m going to be part of that change, and I’m really excited to help other players and hopefully take on a leadership position.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in soccer at the collegiate level?  “I actually started out in gymnastics and cheerleading, and then I started soccer. Once I started, I changed to a few different teams. The team I’m currently on, FC Bucks, really helped me get to the next level and find the college I wanted to go to.”

Coach Mike Koch says:  “Kyra unfortunately was injured this year. She came out at the start of our preseason, and she was getting our team together. We would do a four-hour practice in the morning, and Kyra would go through that and was instrumental in players doing things afterwards. I think she put herself at risk to play so hard, and unfortunately, she did get injured and had to miss the season to have surgery. She still maintained that commitment. She’s another person that has an incredible passion to play. I don’t know that she’ll ever be outworked anywhere she is. I was speaking to her (future) collegiate coach, and she is so excited to have her to keep that commitment to excellence there. Kyra holds herself accountable and leads by example. She was always the one who did the unglamorous stuff. Outside midfield is probably the most unglamorous position there is, and she did that for us, worked up and down the field. It doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet, and she was a huge part of our success. In our biggest win in the playoffs (junior year), she made the last PK to help us advance. It’s a moment I’ll always remember.”
About Kyra:
Favorite food:  Quesadillas
Favorite TV show:  Criminal Minds
Favorite music:  Pop & Rap

Haley Pursel – Lafayette College (Soccer)
Mechanical Engineering
Final list of colleges:  Lafayette, Rochester Institute of Technology, Old Dominion, Drexel, Carnegie Mellon
Reasons for choosing Lafayette:  “I was looking at a mix of Division 1 and 3 schools, but I was focusing more on the academics because I knew I wanted to do engineering so that was really important for me.
“I liked the distance and the fact that it’s close to home. I really wanted my parents to be able to come and see my games whereas if I went to upstate New York or Virginia, that wouldn’t have been possible as much. And the coaches definitely made an impact. I had that one-to-one feel with them.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in soccer at the collegiate level?  “I think I always knew I wanted to play in college. Going into freshman year, I went on a team that plays across the country in showcases. I used to play lacrosse in middle school, so I had to decide what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to play a sport, and I’d been playing soccer since I was eight or nine. I think I realized I wanted to get better at it and develop technically.”

Coach Mike Koch says:  “Haley led us in assists the last three years. She’s an accomplished player. She was an all-state player as a junior and a three-time All-Southeastern PA player. I have had players of that ilk, and they tend to – I’m this or that, but she never big-timed it. She just provided leadership. Probably the best leadership we got from these three was this year when we were not winning games as much as in previous years. We still competed all the way through an entire schedule, and I really credit them for that. Haley is a next-level thinker on the soccer field. She sees things before they happen. I used her as a sounding board.”
About Haley:
Favorite food:  Chicken Parmesan
Favorite movie:  World War Z
Favorite music:  Alternative