Freshman goalkeeper Savannah Haberman has come a long way since her dad signed her up for recreational soccer in her local mall at age four.
With just one game remaining in her first season as a Racer, Haberman has proven herself as one of the top goalkeepers in the OVC. Winning two Goalkeeper of the Week awards and totaling three shutouts so far, Haberman has provided consistency in net for a soccer team with few seniors.
Haberman, however, wasn’t born a soccer player.
“No one in my family has ever played soccer,” Haberman said. “My brother got into wrestling and band and my parents were left wondering what they were going to do with me. My dad saw a sign in the mall for recreational soccer and he signed me up. I gave it a try and I’ve been playing ever since.”
Haberman’s soccer career began in Clarksville, Tenn., playing recreational and club soccer for fun. Despite her family’s lack of familiarity, Haberman took to the sport naturally. At age 10, the young soccer star even held her own as the only girl on her team.
It was not until high school, however, when Haberman realized her talent playing for the Louisville, Ky., club team, called United 1996 FC. It was there the young goalkeeper began receiving interest from the college ranks.
“A lot of the girls on my team were talking to big programs,” Haberman said, “so I figured I was good enough, too. Several small-school coaches began emailing and talking to me and I started to realize I really was good enough to play past high school.”
As a local star of her high school team, and a significant contributor for United 1996 FC, interest in the up-and-coming goalkeeper only increased as she neared graduation.
Haberman committed to Eastern Kentucky, but eventually re-opened her recruitment after the coach left the university. She found an old email from Murray State Head Coach Beth Acreman, and reconsidered becoming a Racer.
“I wasn’t a hundred percent happy at (Eastern Kentucky),” Haberman said, “so I came back to Murray for my official visit and I knew this was it.”
Within the month, Haberman had scheduled her classes, switched her scholarships and officially became a Racer.
“What really sold me was the people,” Haberman said. “Everyone I talked to here was so much friendlier, and I already knew some of the girls from playing against some of them in high school, and I knew how good they were. The people at the other schools weren’t as nice or welcoming. It just felt like home. It was a quick decision, but I’m glad I made it.”
Haberman joins 10 other freshmen on a Racer team seemingly building for the future.
Having already matched the win total of last year’s team full of upper-classmen, brighter days appear to be ahead for Racer soccer.
“It takes so long to develop a really solid team,” Haberman said. “We’ve had some success, and we have some really talented players and I just think we’re going to get so much better. If everyone stays and develops as the team, we’re going to grow so much, and we’ll be in the top of the conference by our junior and senior years.”
With a year under her belt, and a young core around her, Haberman is ready to patrol the Racer net for several years and cement her place as one of the soccer players to look out for in the OVC.
Story by Jonathan Ferris, Staff Writer