Leah Klurman Is Not Done Yet, College Commit Just Getting Started


Leah Klurman dribbles the ball down the right flank en route to goal. Klurman committed to the University of Tennessee to play soccer at the end of October. Photo Courtesy of Leah Klurman

Matthew Levine, Sports Editor

Leah Klurman remembers how exciting it was when her brother Garrett committed to Monmouth University to play Division 1 lacrosse. 

“My brother plays division one lacrosse, so it’s definitely very cool to watch him play,” Klurman said. “Playing division one sports is a huge thing.”

Now it’s Klurman’s turn to be the D1 commit. 

On Oct. 29, Klurman announced her commitment to play soccer at the University of Tennessee – a feat she has aspired to accomplish since she started playing soccer. Not only is she a college commit, but add First Team All State and First Team All County to her growing list of accomplishments too. 

“I played soccer pretty much forever,” Klurman said. “And I’ve always watched college soccer, and at my club, I would be friends with the older teams and see them all go to college, and it’s just so cool to watch the whole process.” 

While not playing for the Lady Raiders, Klurman plays club soccer for the Players Development Academy (PDA), where she is constantly going to college showcases. Klurman generated so much interest from these showcases that by the time June 15 rolled around, the date that Klurman could start speaking with schools, she was speaking with coaches on a regular basis. 

The University of Tennessee immediately showed interest in Klurman, and when she had the opportunity to visit, she fell in love with the program and school. 

“My first call was actually Tennessee, and I wasn’t even interested at first because I knew nothing about them,” Klurman said. “And then I would call them regularly during the week to get to know the program more, and the coaching staff is awesome. I was able to see it [the school], and I honestly just fell in love with the school and the program and how family-oriented they are.” 

Klurman, now anchoring the backline for the Lady Raiders, remembers the varsity team captains when she was a freshman, whose emphasis on leadership and genuine camaraderie in the team huddle stuck with Klurman throughout her years on the team. 

“As a freshman, it’s definitely very intimidating because you’re playing with people so much older than you,” Klurman said. “I’m kind of one of the older upperclassmen [on the team], so I have way more confidence to be a leader. I’ve watched my captains be leaders and it’s easy to learn from them.” 

“It’s definitely super cool because it doesn’t occur often because I am a defender,” Klurman said. “And I think that all my hard work on set pieces has definitely paid off.” 

With a high of 63 degrees on Nov. 20, the Lady Raiders faced off against Jackson Memorial in the state sectional semifinals on a Friday afternoon that warranted wearing shorts. The game was scoreless until the Lady Raiders had a free kick right outside of the 18-yard box. Klurman had spent much of her offseason and time working on set pieces. With 2:15 remaining in regulation, Klurman drove a low-driven ball into the back of the net to win the game and create momentum for the final against Toms River North, where they won 4-0. 

After playing integral parts in back-to-back state sectional teams, Klurman is gearing up for a nationals run with PDA while also focusing on improving technically and becoming physically stronger. 

When asked what’s better: winning with PDA or the Lady Raiders, Klurman takes a second in her phone conversation with The Fanscotian to consider both. 

“I guess I would say [club national finals] are more important because of the college coaches that are watching,” Klurman said. “It’s on TV, and you get filmed. You can watch it live so the college coaches will watch it, or be there, so it’s huge for my future. But for high school, the feeling of winning finals is the most amazing feeling ever. So feeling wise, I don’t think it’s much different. It’s just an amazing, rewarding feeling. Preseasons are so long and hard, but [nationals] are just different for your future.” 

Despite being committed to school as a junior (something many juniors would die for), Klurman is not content yet. 

“As a kid, I just always loved the sport, and it’s gotten me through everything,” Klurman said.  “In high school, you have to miss out on so much and really dedicate all your time to it. So, it’s just super important to me, and it always has been and I’ve just always wanted to play college soccer, so it’s very rewarding.”

While other kids might have writing, music, art, or another passion as their outlet, Klurman has soccer. And that’s all she needs.