It sure has not taken Nichelle Prince long to settle into her new environment at Ohio State University.
The Ajax resident is the team’s leading soccer scorer with five goals in eight matches, including four in the last three games. Just over a week ago, she netted the school’s 11th hat-trick and was rewarded with the Big Ten Freshman of the Week Award.
With Prince leading the way, the Buckeyes’ are off to a 6-1-1 start and her sterling play – she has four assists and leads her team in points with 29 – has earned the praise of coach, Lori Walker.
“It has helped that she came to us with more experience than the average freshman,” said Walker. “Nichelle is a very experienced player, having played with her full national team in Canada and a youth world championship side.”
Prince debuted for the national senior team in the Four Nations Women’s tournament in China last January, coming off the bench to score the team’s only goal in the contest against Korea Republic. She also helped the national Under-17 team reach the finals of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) World Cup qualifier a year ago.
“Having this experience certainly has helped with my integration into a new setting,” said Prince whose college opens Big Ten play against Illinois on Friday, September 20. “It’s however a new program and with it comes a different coaching style which I am still adjusting to. Every coach has their own methods and it’s up to me to adapt as quickly as possible.”
A key member of Pickering High School track and field championship teams before committing to soccer nearly two years ago, Prince chose Ohio State over West Virginia.
“Those were the only campuses I visited even though other schools showed an interest,” she said. “But I chose to come here based on the success the team had when I committed in 2010 and the fact they have a good academic program.”
She’s enrolled in the exercise science program.
The five-hour drive between her parents’ home and Ohio would have also played a part in Prince’s decision to play for the Buckeyes.
Parents Fabian and Robin along with younger sister Kendra – a defender who has committed to Oakland University in Michigan – attended the September 1 home game against Arizona that ended in a nil-all tie.
“That was parents’ day and it was a great experience to be among hundreds of moms and dads watching their children play,” said the family patriarch who represented Kingston College in Jamaica’s high school track and field championship (CHAMPS) in 1976 and 1978.
Prince’s older sister – Christine, who is in her senior year – is a forward with the University of Montevallo Falcons.