Chicagoland forward will attend Illinois

Meegan Johnston has verbally committed to Illinois. Team Chicago/ESPNHS

RELATED LINKS: ESPNHS Recruiting Central | Class of 2013 Division I Commitments

Meegan Johnston, a Class of 2013 forward from Grayslake, Ill., has verbally committed to Illinois, her family has confirmed to ESPNHS.

Johnston is a member of the Region II ODP team and plays midfield for Team Chicago during the club season. She attends Carmel Catholic (Mundelein, Ill.), where she plays forward for the Corsairs and has helped lead them to regional playoffs in her junior season.

She joins Ohio native Allison Stucky and Texas goalkeeper Claire Wheatley in Illinois’ Class of 2013.

Other Schools Considered: Marquette, Duke, Dayton, Santa Clara, Portland and Iowa.

Why Illinois?: "I first went to an Illinois Winter Camp when I was 14 and really hit it off with head coach Janet Rayfield. Our relationship grew from that point on and I came to know the assistant coaches, Leisha Alcia and Jeff Freeman. My dad always told me you have to go to a program where all the coaches love you. I found that at Illinois. Another big reason I chose Illinois is I want to play beyond college. Her experience as an U.S. staff coach with the current women’s National Team, success as an All-American player and confidence in my abilities can only help me reach my dreams. I’m a fourth generation footballer and I plan on succeeding both at Illinois and the elite level. I come from a line of professional and D1 players so I have a lot to aspire to.

What did you learn about the recruiting process? "I had to think about what I want after high school. I had to reflect deeply on who I am as a person and who I am without soccer. That was the hard part; everything else was as easy as breathing. I knew what I wanted in a program, the coaches and style of play. What really got me was the question, 'What about life after soccer?' My dad has always stressed how soccer relates to life. I knew that had to be a big part of my decision, and in the end it was. A degree from Illinois is part of that equation. I’ve been fortunate to play for successful teams. I’m on the ODP Region II team, but I credit most of my success to my current club Team Chicago and my head coach Phil Nielsen. Coach Nielsen was so supportive and went the extra mile spending hours communicating with college coaches. Hudson Fortune was another great coach that helped me believe in myself."