Surrounded by a gaggle of adoring friends, teammates, coaches and parents, George Mason High School seniors Rebecca Crouch and Derin Kokuuslu signed letters of intent Wednesday to play Division I college soccer.
Crouch, who committed to the University of South Florida, played an integral part in three of Mason’s nine straight Virginia 2A state championships. The senior forward has tallied 87 goals and 81 assists in her high school career, and was the 2016 Virginia 2A Player of the Year.
As friends and family offered hugs and congratulations, Crouch reflected on the momentous occasion. “I’ve been thinking about this every single day,” she said. “It’s obviously very exciting; it’s official now.”
USF was her No. 1 choice, Crouch said, so the decision to commit to the Bulls took little contemplation.
“The campus is amazing and I really liked the coaches there,” she said. “Plus the weather is awesome, Florida is awesome and just overall it seemed like a perfect fit.”
Kokuuslu committed to the College of William and Mary. The midfielder played JV soccer for the Mustangs as an eighth-grader before transitioning to D.C. United’s Development Academy for his high school years.
The senior was named captain of the U18 United team this past season, starting 10 of 11 games.
Signing Day, Kokuuslu admitted, was something he had thought about for some time.
“I was really nervous going into it just ‘cause all my friends were coming out,” he said. “I kinda wanted to focus on my signature a little bit, not to mess it up. But I’m really excited.”
Not being able to play for Mason in addition to his United team wasn’t easy, Kokuuslu said, but he knew it was the right decision. “It was very hard ‘cause I always wanted to enjoy it with my friends,” he said. “But I knew that if I kept playing consistently at the highest level that I could, it would probably be the best outcome for me.”