Nate Hecker wants to play soccer as long as he can.
The next phase in that plan is a collegiate career for the Bellefontaine standout, who recently signed to play at Ohio Northern University, a Division III program.
“Playing in college has been a goal since I was really young,” said Hecker. “I’ve always wanted to and it’s been a dream continuing to play as long as I can. I want to see how far it can take me. If it ends after the next four year then that is okay.”
Hecker has been a workhorse for the Chieftains on the soccer field over the course of his prep career. He also kicked field goals and extra points for the football team.
The soccer field is where Hecker left his mark, though. He earned Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail player of the year this fall. Hecker led the league in assists with 12, and had 28 points with eight goals.
While he also looked at Bluffton University, Heidelberg University, Marietta College and Defiance College, it was a camp experience in Ada that stuck with Hecker when it came time to make his college choice.
“Two years ago, I went to camp there and after that day I told my parents how much I loved it,” said Hecker. “It was home for me. The coaches were super welcoming.
“(My former teammate) Daunte George plays there and he told me about the team too. Everyone is wanting to win and be successful. Academic wise the bar is very high as well.”
Hecker helped make the Bellefontaine offense go on the field, doing the dirty work and getting the ball to the team’s main scorers. Wherever the Polar Bears need him is where he’ll play, though.
“I want to help any way I can,” said Hecker. “I usually provide more assists instead of being a scorer. I can do that, but I’m more team first. That’s my type of play. I want to help things revolve around everyone else and help out where I can. I’ll likely play center mid, but I can also be a center forward or striker.”
Ohio Northern had a strong season this past fall. The Polar Bears finished 13-6-3 overall and 5-3-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. They reached the quarterfinals of the OAC tournament.
“Right now I want to work my way in with the team,” said Hecker. “I probably won’t play as a freshman. I want to learn and see what it takes to play and the style of their team. I’ll work as hard as I can and hopefully get my way to a starting spot as a sophomore. I want to test the waters first.”