Butler’s Thomas heading to Edinboro
BUTLER TWP — If Addie Thomas was looking for stability, she found it.
The Butler senior recently signed a letter of intent to continue her academic and soccer career at Edinboro University. The Fighting Scots have had just one head coach — Gary Kagiavas — since the program’s inception in 1986.
“When I went up there for a visit, it felt like family,” said Thomas, a midfielder/center-back. “I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”
Thomas also considered Indiana (Pa.) University, Robert Morris and Clarion before selecting Edinboro. She plans to major in business and is leaning toward a career in chiropractic medicine.
“Addie really loves the sport,” Butler girls soccer coach Dan Buzzard said. “She works hard on her game all summer. She’s gone to soccer camps ... With those great feet of hers, she is going to be very successful.”
Edinboro’s last winning season was in 2019, when the Scots finished 12-6-3 overall, 10-3-3 in PSAC play. Kariagis claimed his fourth career PSAC Coach of the Year award that season. He has a career record of 231-194-40 in 28 seasons.
Kariagis has guided Edinboro to 12 PSAC Tournament berths and had a stretch of five consecutive years of leading the Scots into the Division II national playoffs.
Eden Gerlach, a freshman forward from Mars, is a forward on Edinboro’s roster. Butler graduate Maggie Hays tallied a goal and five assists in her senior season as a midfielder with the Scots.
“I like the way the coach runs the program there,” Thomas said. “He’s good about allowing the girls to have fun at practice and in the games. At the same time, he recognizes there’s a time to take it more seriously and the team responds to that.”
Edinboro has struggled in the past couple of years, going 5-9-4 overall, 5-8-3 in PSAC play this fall. Last year, the team finished 2-9-7 overall and only 1-8-7 in league competition.
Thomas said one of her strengths on the field is her knowledge of the game.
“I’m pretty vocal out there,” she said. “I help to instruct my teammates in terms of positioning. I watch a .lot of game film.”
An effective midfielder, Thomas may be asked to play more center back in college.
“Addie will be successful no matter where they put her,” Buzzard said. “Her overall game awareness is very impressive. She’s a great leader with great ball skills.
“She’s the type of player you add to a roster ... who you know is going to help elevate the program.”
Thomas has also run track and played basketball at Butler. She’s been concentrating on soccer since her sophomore year.
Her soccer goals at Edinboro are team-oriented.
“I want to help the team get into the (PSAC) playoffs and go on a deep run,” she said. “I’d much rather see us win the PSAC Championship than see myself get all-conference.
“Soccer is a team game. I just want to contribute to the team.”