BEAVERCREEK — First, she’s a member of a state championship winning girls high school soccer team.
Now, Beavercreek High School senior Diana Benigno is considered one of the top high school players in the nation.
Benigno, ranked by MaxPreps.com as the top female high school player in Ohio, participated in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) and U.S. Club Soccer national selection camp, which was held July 22-27 in Portland, Oregon on the Portland University campus.
In order to make the national camp squad, first she had to be selected as one of the top players in the Ohio Valley Conference, during a regional soccer camp last March for area club team players, at Seven Hills High School in Cincinnati.
From that elite group, Benigno joined 37 of the top soccer players from club teams all over the country for the ECNL national selection camp.
After five days of head-to-head matches, drills and workouts with some of the nation’s best athletes, many of whom had already committed themselves to playing for the top college programs around, Benigno (who has committed to play collegiately at the University of Dayton) was chosen as one of the camp’s Best XI, or top 11 players.
“Once in the camp, she noticed she was going against top players who were already committed to top colleges in the country,” said Katie Benigno, Diana’s mother. “She texted me and her dad and said that she felt like she was a little out of place since all of the players committed were going to Power 5 schools.
“We told her she was selected to go there for a reason and she just needed to go out and play her game and let the coaches decide how she stacks up. So she worked her tail off at camp and they recognized her talent. … The top 11 girls selected were four defenders, three midfielders, three forwards, and one goalkeeper,” Katie said.
Katie says her daughter worked out with her father, Larry Benigno, four days a week for a month in preparation for the regional and national camps. She says Diana has her legs and dad’s on-field competitiveness.
“But her ability to play better under pressure is all unique to her,” she added.
Diana wasn’t available to comment for this story, likely off at a Beavercreek High School team soccer practice instead. So by email, her proud mom did all the talking.
“Diana had bested midfielders in the camp who are committed to North Carolina, USC, Texas Tech, Auburn, Georgetown, and Northwestern as they were not selected to the top-11 team – quite an impressive feat.
“She said some of the girls weren’t quite sure where Dayton was, but they surely know now.”
Diana Benigno, a member of the Cincinnati-based Ohio Elite Soccer Academy’s U19 team, was on Beavercreek’s 2018 Division I state championship girls soccer team which piled up a perfect 24-0 record.
She and her talented teammates will do their best to repeat that amazing tournament run this season. Beavercreek’s first regular season game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 16 when they will host Dublin Jerome for a nonleague match.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.