Donaldson makes official commitment
During the summer of 2017, Salisbury’s Rylee Donaldson gave her verbal commitment to continue her soccer career at Bucknell University. She was just heading into her junior year of high school at that time. The Falcons’ all-time leading scorer made it official last week.
Donaldson, now a senior, inked her letter of intent at a ceremony last Monday at Salisbury High School to continue her soccer career as a member of the Bison. She’ll join a Bucknell team that went 5-4 in the Patriot League and qualified for the league tournament quarterfinals.
“Committing to Bucknell and playing college soccer at the Division I level is a dream come true,” Donaldson said. “I have always been very passionate about soccer, and I knew very quickly that I wanted to play in college. Being able to continue doing what I love, especially at Bucknell, has been very special as I watched my dreams materialize.”
Donaldson always had dreams of playing college soccer at some level. But it wasn’t until her freshman year at Salisbury that she thought she could play at the Division I level.
After a historic four-year career with the Falcons that includes school records in goals, assists and total points, as well as a standout club career, Donaldson saw those dreams come true.
“It became apparent to me that if I wanted to play at that level, I was going to need to work for it,” Donaldson said. “Week after week, I worked to my best ability to become a better player, and in the end it all paid off. I knew I wanted to play Division I because of the competitive atmosphere.”
The choice wasn’t necessarily easy for Donaldson, who committed to the Bison when she was just a sophomore. Other Division I programs sought the coveted forward/midfielder, including James Madison University, who was at the top of Donaldson’s list as well.
But when she stepped on Bucknell’s campus and envisioned the mix of athletics and academics, she knew she had found her next destination.
Saint Joe’s University, Providence College and Longwood University also showed interest in Donaldson.
“The day I visited Bucknell, I knew it was one of my top choices,” Donaldson said. “The campus is exactly what I was looking for, and it felt like home to me. I knew that I wanted something athletically challenging as well as academically challenging, and Bucknell had both.
“There were other schools like James Madison, that piqued my interest, but none that compared to Bucknell. At the time, making such a big decision weighed heavily on me because I was only a sophomore in high school and this was my future.”
Donaldson is recovering from an injury she suffered during the high school season, and is using the winter time to heal before next fall comes around. She has plenty of high expectations when she joins Bucknell in 2019, and being at full strength will go a long way in achieving those goals.
“Taking this time to get back to 100 percent is important as I look forward to competing next fall,” Donaldson said. “I plan to spend the time between now and my freshman season preparing in both strengthening and training in order to be as ready as I can be.”
Bucknell finished 7-11-1 overall and lost to Lehigh in the Patriot League quarterfinals, 2-1, in double overtime.