As a kid in Mount Pleasant, Elissa Reckdenwald started her athletic career as a competitive dancer and did so until she was in the eighth-grade. Her freshman year of high school, she and her family moved from Mount Pleasant to Andrews and with the move, Reckdenwald decided to give up dance and play soccer for Andrews High, a sport she played off and on recreationally.

“I was very passionate about dance when I was younger, but when I came to Andrews, it was easier to play sports at a smaller school,” Reckdenwald said.

Four years later, Reckdenwald became the fourth Andrews Lady Yellow Jacket to commit to a college soccer program.

“I’m excited and extremely proud for her,” Andrews boys coach Shane Maglich said. “She works hard for what she has. She is an extremely motivated person.”

In a ceremony on May 16 in the Andrews High School media center, Reckdenwald officially announced she will be attending the The Citadel to further her education and play soccer for the Lady Bulldogs.

“I just thought this would be something I would do for fun, but it turned out to be so much more,” Reckdenwald said. “It’s a great experience for me cause I’ve been able to show the younger players that they are able to do it and although we might be a small soccer team from a small school, we are still able to do great things.”

During the 2019 season, Reckdenwald scored a team high 13 goals and was tied for the team lead in assists with four. As she excelled on the soccer field, she was an outstanding student and is the Andrews High Class of 2019 Valedictorian.

Reckdenwald said she was nervous when she tried out for Andrews her ninth-grade year, but it didn’t take long for her to make an impression on the coaching staff. Her sophomore year, Reckdenwald was named captain and held that honor through her senior season.

“When I first started playing I was nervous because I hadn’t earned my spot yet. I was still the new girl. But I instantly became close (with my teammates) and became captain the next year,” Reckdenwald said. “At first it was more of a social thing, but I found a love for the sport and I started playing on the weekends and joined club teams. I focused more on becoming better at the sport instead of becoming a team member.”

For April and Shane Maglich, Reckdenwald is like a third coach on the field for the Yellow Jackets and steers the team in the right direction.

“Once she came in her motivation was off the charts. She’s the leader of our program and organization,” Shane Maglich said. “Nothing gets past her and she is the one that draws the line in the sand and says this is where we need to be. (Her teammates) really take her advice and roll with it.”

Reckdenwald originally applied to The Citadel because father and grandfather are both alumni, and after visiting the school, she fell in love with the campus. She also participated in an ID camp at The Citadel and had a chance to meet her new teammates.

“I was really nervous when I went and tried out for the team. I’m glad they are giving me the opportunity to join the team,” she said. “I think what the coach saw in me was that I don’t give up and I want to keep fighting.”

The Lady Bulldogs went 9-10 during the 2018 soccer season and lost in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Women's Soccer Championship.