Noah Cooney commits to play soccer at Washington University in St. Louis


Photo credit Ceci Motley

Noah Cooney crosses the ball deep to his teammates in the State Championship game.

Senior Noah Cooney committed to play collegiate soccer at Washington University, also known as WashU. Cooney has played soccer since he was four years old and has participated in club soccer since sixth grade. Cooney started his Westminster soccer career as a freshman on the JV team.  

“Despite the stigma around playing JV, he saw it as a chance to play a lot of minutes and really grow as a player,” said Varsity Soccer Coach Daniel Searl. “As a staff, we are excited to see the seniors and the team come together and continue to move the program forward.”

By the time Cooney was a sophomore, he had earned a starting spot on Varsity. As a junior, he was moved to center back, the most important position on the field according to Coach Scott Snyder. As a highly touted prospect, Cooney had many options for his next four years. However, WashU stood out as a clear choice for him.

“Honestly, it was a perfect fit between a strong academic school, which was something my parents and I really wanted, and an impressive soccer program,” said Cooney. 

Cooney’s decision was supported by his coaches and teammates.

“It’s a great fit for two reasons. One, it’s a high-level soccer program. WashU plays in the UAA which is a competitive but also fun league,” said Searl. “The league allows for the best Division III teams to travel all over the country to compete against each other. Second, WashU is a highly academic school, which means that Cooney gets the best of both worlds.”

One aspect of his recruitment journey that Cooney underestimated was talking to the coaches before meeting them in person.

“Emailing the coaches and asking questions about their programs made it personal to them and showed that I was interested in their school,” said Cooney.

Contacting coaches before ID camps proved to be especially helpful for Cooney. ID camps are camps high school athletes can attend to provide a snapshot of collegiate soccer in a competitive and challenging environment. Either one specific school or multiple schools can attend these ID camps. Cooney attended many of the multi-schooled ID camps, which allowed him to meet and play in front of numerous colleges and coaches. 

During the offseason, Cooney practiced rigorously in order to get recruited, though it wasn’t always an easy feat.

Noah Cooney, class of 2023, prepares for a corner kick in the GHSA state championship. (Photo credit Ceci Motley)

“The hardest part is getting to the point where practicing is no longer a chore,” said Cooney.  “You should be looking forward to practicing because you want to improve. The biggest change I made, for my game, was getting into that mindset. Surrounding myself with people that motivated me and helped me, whether it was family or teammates or friends, was crucial in getting me to where I wanted to be.” 

Unfortunately, Cooney suffered a stress fracture in his foot this past summer after the last camp he attended. He had been unable to practice and play for over a month but has finally gotten the boot removed.

Team camaraderie is crucial to Cooney. Although soccer started as a distraction from school, once he made friends, it became more than that. His favorite part of soccer is the community and the bonds he has formed with his teammates.

“Over the last year he’s really been developing a voice that his teammates will listen to and respect,” said Searl.

His coaches were not the only ones to sing his praises.

“Noah is the best center back I could ask for,” said junior Brenner McCamey. “He saves the team so many times in so many crucial moments. His future teammates and coach are so fortunate to have him on their team for the next four years.”

His fellow seniors are also excited about his commitment and his past years spent on the team.

“Noah is one of the hardest working players I’ve played with,” said senior Josh Brockman. “He always leads by example on the field and is also a great leader off the field. He’s always very welcoming to the underclassmen and it’s been a pleasure to play with him the last 3 years.”

The Wildcats look forward to seeing Cooney and the Westminster soccer team back in action for the 2023 season.

Edited by James Rhee