Tovin Saleh earns offer at Clayton State

March 30, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Swedish international Tovin Saleh didn’t know what to expect when she arrived at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC).

Now, she can expect a future of soccer and continued studies at Clayton State University in Morrow, Ga.

Saleh, a two-year starter for the Patriots women’s soccer team, signed her national letter of intent to play on scholarship at the NCAA, Division II school just south of Atlanta. She is the program’s first to be granted scholarship money to play soccer.

“This signing for Tovin to Clayton State is a real big standout for us,” PHCC women’s soccer coach Larry Wylie said. “This is our crown at the moment and I think she will do great there not only on the field but in the classroom.”

The psychology major started in all 37 games she played in at PHCC. Saleh scored 25 goals and added 17 assists over that time, playing a key role in the team’s midfield. The 2015 Region X player of the year joins a Clayton State team looking to rebound from a sub-par season (9-8-1) and has been regarded as one of the best teams perennially in the Peach Belt Conference.

Wylie said the midfielder’s development at PHCC was fun to watch over two seasons and showed lots of potential when she arrived in the Piedmont.

“If I had never stayed (at PHCC) for two years this would’ve never been possible. If I didn’t stay, I wouldn’t have been named a player of the year or get the offers I got,” Saleh said. “I just came here to do something different, to study and play soccer at the same time. I never thought I’d do that good at soccer and it changed my whole view of things.”

Patriots men’s soccer coach Enda Crehan created the connection with Clayton State through his relationship with head coach Gareth O’Sullivan. After exploring what the school had to offer both academically and athletically, Saleh said it was the perfect fit to continue her education and athletic endeavors. Saleh added that joining a team full of international players played a part in her decision to go to the Georgia school.

Ten internationals were featured on last year’s roster.

At Clayton State, Wylie believes his standout midfielder will become more of a wing player due to her crossing and passing abilities. Saleh said that staying in the middle of the pitch suits her best because she likes to be a leader. Regardless of where she plays, she added the open-minded mentality she developed at PHCC will only help her in the future.

“I’m still looking to stay in the center because I want to be a leader. I want to be the player to make that run or make that pass,” Saleh said.

“She has a great long ball as a pass and puts it right on target,” added Wylie. “She hits people in the chest or on the feet and puts the ball right where it needs to be. She can can also read the play and make the run before the play develops.”

While she is able to be centrally located, as well as playing defense, the versatility Saleh provides could be her biggest asset, Wylie said. That was displayed this past fall with PHCC as she put the team first and played wherever needed, Wylie said, in order to help her team win games.

“Even though she was still one of our primary scorers this year, she kind of took a back seat in her center midfield role to help out with our defense,” Wylie said. “She worked diligently as far as moving forward but also dropped back and she did that more or less on her own.”

Over the two years that Saleh was present, the Lady Patriots soccer program continued to bridge the gap among the elite in Region X. Wylie said the midfielder’s play helped inspire and build confidence with those around her. He expects nothing less at the next level.

Filed under: Women's Soccer