Finn Sprankle

Finn Sprankle laughs during a light moment in the West Valley High School library before she signed a National Letter of Intentwith the NCAA Division women’s soccer program at Central Washington University. DANNY MARTIN/NEWS-MINER

Finn Sprankle, before she signed a National Letter of Intent with the women’s soccer program at Central Washington University, commended several coaches, and her parents, who helped her grow as a player.

“Each coach I’ve had has brought something new for me to learn from,”  Sprankle said after signing her NLI during a ceremony Tuesday afternoon in the West Valley High School library. 

“I think that’s really helped me figure out how I can be adaptable and play under a bunch of different coaching staffs and all that stuff. They have each made me stronger as a player.”

The senior defender for the West Valley girls team also said Central Washington head coach Michael Ferrand reminded of one of the coaches who helped guide her. 

“He definitely reminds of me of Howie,” Sprankle said while alluding to Howard Maxwell, who coached her in the Eclipse youth club program for five years. Maxwell, who also is the West Valley boys head coach, sat at the signing table with Sprankle and her parents, Beth and Jake.

“They’re both very down-to-earth and very straight up with you. They’ll tell you how it is. I don’t like coaches who kind of try to make you feel good. 

“He’s (Maxwell) just tells you what you need to improve and you go out and do it.”

Maxwell said, “With all of these kind of things, it starts with the person and Finn is a fantastic person. I’ve never heard her say anything mean spirited.

He paused and added lightheartedly, “I’ve heard her say a few mean things, but it never came from her heart.

“Everything she says is motivated about team, and in the end, she cares about people. She cares about the adults around her and she cares especially about her teammates and her friends.”

Ferrand, in a Central Washington news release, described the 5-foot-6 Sprankle as strong, physical and a good passer.

Maxwell agreed.

“This kid is tough, and she is a gamer,” he said.

Sprankle was among nine players in the 2020 recruiting class for the Central Washington Wildcats, one of nine women’s soccer teams in the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Sven Grage, West Valley girls soccer head coach, pointed out a few of Sprankle’s attributes Tuesday.

“Her presence on the field is remarkable in terms of leadership, in telling the other girls, ‘We’re going to win this game, there’s no doubt about it,’” Grage said. “It doesn’t always happen but at least she sends that signal out.”

Grage, like Maxwell, sees Sprankle having an impact with the Wildcats, of Ellensburg, Washington.

“She can be a force,” Grage said. “I assume the coach (Ferrand) there will help her a little bit to fully focus her strength and her force, and she will be a force on the field.”

Sprankle, 17, said the Wildcats coaching staff is looking to use her as a center defender or holding midfielder.

“Freshman year, you don’t know really how much playing time you’re going to get or where you’re going to play,” she said. They’re going to try me in the six (holding midfielder position) but I might get thrown on the defense.”

Sprankle said she plans to major in biology at Central Washington and eventually aim for a career in medicine.

Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter: @newsminersports.