It’s an exciting year of change for the Columbus Eagles. The Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) club enters its sixth season of competition with a new badge, new uniforms and a new head coach.
How about a new captain for good measure?
Midfielder Ashley Gogolin takes over for Amber Kern as the Eagles’ captain in 2019. She joined the Eagles in 2018 following a stellar collegiate career at Wright State and a stint in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) with the Chicago Red Stars.
She came into Eagles training camp in 2018 a relatively quiet, reserved player keeping to herself most days. Gogolin earned a start in the final preseason match against Ohio Dominican University, broke through and never fell out of favor with the coaching staff.
Despite her initial reserved nature, Gogolin’s game has grown and evolved during her time with Columbus.
“Last year was more getting comfortable and knowing my role on the field,” she told Massive Report. “I’m not going to come in as a new player and start screaming at people. I want to be held accountable, I want to hold my teammates accountable now. I’ll literally run through a wall for my teammates.”
A typical central midfielder, Gogolin’s not known for her goal scoring prowess but she does have a few impressive goals to her credit during her time in Columbus. Gogolin is a player that immediately caught the attention of head coach Matt Ogden.
“She’s always in and around where the ball is and that’s exactly what I’m asking her to do is find the ball,” Ogden said of the midfielder. “She connects passes really well, she’s very knowledgeable, she’s got a great range of passing.”
Just three days before their first WPSL game in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Gogolin caught up with Ogden before practice. He stated his intentions to make her club captain and tasked her with an important job. With the influx of new players coming in, he commissioned the midfielder to get the players together and acclimated to training.
The midfielder looks to her teammates as they move through the season as a collective unit, rather than individuals.
“I think the beautiful thing about soccer is that it is a team sport. You have your leaders and the ones that take those leadership roles,” Gogolin said. “At the same time, it’s everyone for each other, not a captain for individuals, or someone else looking up to the captain. It’s everyone looking to each other and relying on each other at the end of the day.”
Even with her new title, Gogolin won’t allow the position to change her. The midfielder vows to give it all she’s got every time she steps on the field.
“Me wearing an armband or not I’m going to be the same player regardless,” she said. “If that means people look up to me more now as a captain, I’m vocal, I’m going to work my butt off for my teammates regardless. Armband or not, I hope in return they do that as well.”
Gogolin and the Eagles captured three points with a 1-0 victory over Ann Arbor last weekend and hope their good fortunes continue against Cincinnati this weekend. Fans can catch a glimpse of the new Eagles captain on Sunday as Columbus welcome rival club Cincinnati Sirens to Otterbein University for the WPSL home opener. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7 p.m.