GH Falcon Montana Merkle Commits to Become a UNA Lion!

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Montana signs to kick it at UNA next fall! Go Lions!!!

Shea McIntyre, Student Life Editor

It’s no surprise to any GHHS Falcon that Montana Merkle, a 4-time varsity player for Green Hope’s womens soccer team would announce her commitment to play soccer at the collegiate level! Montana verbally took to her Instagram and other medias back in April in the the heart of quarantine, to announce her official commitment to play soccer as a University of North Alabama lion! Montana has been playing since freshman year and each season has held herself accountable to score goals for the Falcons on top of playing more defensive positions! Montana is changing her colors from green and maroon to purple and gold to play down in Florence, Alabama under NCAA’s Division I Atlantic Sun Conference (ASUN)!

Here’s an inside look behind Montana’s recruitment process and what she hopes to find at UNA. Before getting into the interview, we just want to acknowledge how accomplished (and still high achieving) Montana (#9) is by saying congratulations!!

How long have you been playing soccer and what is your position(s)?

“I have been playing soccer since I was 4 and I usually play center back or holding mid.”

 

What seasons did you play for GH?

“I have played varsity women’s soccer since freshman year, so freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year!”

 

What kind of opponent / player do you think you are?

“Since I am normally the tallest player on the field, I am known to win headers and go up for 50/50 balls. The other team normally struggles to find someone who can beat me to a ball in the air, especially on corners.”

 

What was the recruitment process like (stressful, tiresome, exciting, etc.) ?

“The recruitment process was stressful, but also so worth it in the end. The hardest thing about it all was not letting the pressure of who was watching you affect how well you played. I was extremely blessed to have such an amazing support system at my back with coaches who believed in me and my abilities. I never thought I would be able to continue playing the sport I loved in college simply because I didn’t think I was good enough, but I was lucky enough to have people who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”

 

 Has there been a favorite memory you’ve had playing for GH or is there a favorite game you’ve played?

“When I first joined the team my freshman year we had an amazing group of players. We made it all the way to the semifinals of the state cup and we were playing against Leesville at their home. Surprisingly enough, a decent sized group of GH boys had made the trip to support us. During the second half, the Leesville’s striker and I were 1v1 and I slid tackled her to win the ball. The GH boys started to chant “she’s a freshman” and the angry look the Leesvilles striker gave to the stands was priceless, I’ll never forget wanting to burst out laughing during such an important game.”

Are there any athletes (or soccer players in specific) you look up to, that you somewhat channel while you play?

“I really look up to Kylian Mbappe, who was a part of the French team who won the World Cup in 2018 when he was only 19. Mbappe was so special because of his decision making and relaxed style of play, even under immense pressure.”

 

What drew you to want to play at University of North Alabama?

“When I visited UNA I had an offer from a different school that I was planning on accepting, but when I met the team and stepped on campus I knew that UNA was the school for me. Not only was their soccer program extremely competitive, but they knew how to have fun while still playing great soccer. The players and staff acted like a big family, one that I knew I had to be a part of!”

 

You played not only for school but club soccer with NCFC ECNL, did this elevate your overall game-play?

“Playing on the ECNL team for NCFC was a huge part in my soccer development and helped me become a better player. Club soccer definitely helped me think of the sport as chess instead of checkers, as my coach would say. I was also able to make many unforgettable friendships along the way, I now have friends living all over NC because of it. Playing at NCFC, we were encouraged to support each other and the other teams below us, and it really felt like a big family.”

 

And a more fun question: What’s your pre-game hype song?

“Camelot by NLE Choppa”

 

And finally, what are you most excited for at UNA?

“I am most excited to live on campus and meet brand new people while still being able to play the sport I love. And also to finally meet my amazing roommate that is also playing soccer at UNA.”