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Ella Bard Commits Division 1 to The University of Louisville

Ella Bard poses for picture in the University of Louisville stadium. Bard has dreamed of playing D1 since she was little. Photo Courtesy of Ella Bard.

Some little kids who play sports dream of playing for a top D1 school in the country. For Ella Bard, that dream has become a reality. Just before beginning her junior year, Bard committed to play soccer at the University of Louisville.
Every single week since Bard was three, she has been on the field putting in the work. Now, she spends a minimum of 20 hours a week working on perfecting her game.
Universities were legally allowed to reach out to her on June 15, 2023, before she started her junior year. During her sophomore year, universities expressed general interest in her through emails and her International Soccer Club coach, Zdravko Popovic. At the beginning of her recruiting process, she had a long list of about 25 D1 schools that were interested in her.
When Bard was on her search for schools, the biggest thing she was looking for was the culture and environment of the program.
“I was looking for a team that felt like family, but also pushed and held each other accountable,” Bard said. “A program that fits the ‘All for One and One for All’ mentality just like my club.”
Growing up, Bard always knew she wanted to play with the best and against the best in the NCAA. Arguably, the best league in the NCAA is the ACC, Atlantic Coast Conference. This league has teams like the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pittsburgh, and Duke University. The minute Bard stepped foot onto the green campus grass in Louisville, she knew that’s where she wanted to spend her college career.
“I had visits set up with five other schools but I ended up only visiting Louisville and Penn State before committing just two weeks after my first visit,” Bard said.
Her visit to Louisville was so great that she did not even need to visit the other top D1 schools before making her decision.
“They went above and beyond to make me feel welcomed,” Bard said. “All of the coaches and players instantly made me feel a part of their family.”
Bard has spent six years of her soccer career perfecting her game at International Soccer Club. Three of these years have been under the coaching influence of Zdravko Popovic, his accomplishments being too many to list. Popovic was a major influence during Bard’s recruiting process.
“Her and I had a number of different conversations while she was going through the process of elimination, trying to identify what would be her best fit,” Popovic said. “She came down to three, and she could’ve picked any one of the three and they would’ve been great. I was very much endorsing her to pursue Louisville because she seems to be very, very happy going there and I believe her future is going to be very bright.”
Bard will continue to train and strive for success.
”She is representing her family, she is representing our club and I believe she is representing her community and everybody else that she comes in contact with,” Popovic said. “We can all be proud of her.”




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Sydney Blake, Sports Editor
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