Two years ago, Boitumelo Rabale just wanted to play college soccer in America.
Thanks to Lewis and Clark Community College and coaches Tim Rooney and Ryan Hodge, Rabale got her wish. And just look at her now.
Rabale, a sophomore from Lesotho has been named the National Junior College Womens’ Soccer Player of the Year by United Soccer Coaches. She led all of NJCAA in scoring with 57 goals and 33 assists and helped the Trailblazers to a third-place finish at the NJCAA Division National Tournament last November in Melbourne, Florida.
“I’m so excited and very happy to win this,” Rabale said. ““When this season started, my goal was to be the top goal scorer, but I could not do it without our team. We had an amazing group and I love them all.
“A lot of credit goes to the team. We stayed together all year and things worked out.”
Rabale turned heads at the national tournament two years in a row. She scored a 50-yard bomb each year at the nationals, the kind of stuff of which highlight films are made.
“She’s hard working, had outstanding ball skills and has a knack of knowing where the ball’s going,” said Rooney, the head coach of the LCCC women’s team. “And you might not think it by her stats, but she’s very unselfish. She loves setting up other players to score.”
Rabale becomes the fifth LCCC women’s soccer player to be named National Player of the Year. Staci Dowdy won the award in 1996, Angie Bode in 1999, Kaylee Neutzling twice in 2008 and 2009 and Nicole Howard in 2015.
Affectionately known as “B” to her teammates and coaches, Rabale was one of several high-scoring Trailblazers this season. Freshman teammate Candice Parziani scorched the nets for 31 goals and had 12 assists, Payton Corley had nine goals and 21 assists, Emma Lucas scored 16 goals and had 38 assists and Ella Kieley had 18 goals and 32 assists.
The fact that LCCC had so many scoring threats made it difficult for opponents to concentrate solely on Rabale. She made them pay.
Rabale hails from Maseru, Lesotho’s capital city, where she went to Abia High School. Lesotho is a landlocked nation surrounded by South Africa and has a population of around two million. It’s a beautiful country and Rabale is indeed proud of her native land.
Boitumelo was born and in Qoaling. She is a product of Emmanuel Youth Development Academy. She began to play for senior team at the age of 11.
She wound up playing soccer halfway across the world through the Kick 4 Life Football Club.
Rabale and teammate Cassie Hall, a sophomore defender from Civic Memorial, were named to the NJCAA All-America First Team last month.
“‘B’ and Cassie made names for themselves on offense and defense,” Rooney said. “(Rabale) is just such an amazing player. She can score from almost any place on the field from about the half line on in. She definitely doesn’t have to be in the box to score.”
Rabale scored five of the Trailblazers’ eight goals in the national tournament, including a bomb from near the middle of the field in the tourney opener, a 2-0 win over against Navarro, Texas.
Last season as freshmen, Rabale and Hall were part of the LCCC team that also advanced to the NJCAA national tourney, but fell short in pool play.
“I think we had a real good chance to win (the national championship this year,” Rabale said. “We didn’t win the semifinal, but I think if we had another chance, we would.”
While she loves her homeland, Rabale said she wants to stay in America and finish her soccer career at a four-year school, but hasn’t decided where yet.
There should be no shortage of teams willing to discuss such an arrangement with