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Avery Rice will be playing women’s soccer next year at Maryland University.

“Maryland was always my top choice,” said Rice, a keeper for Trumbull High. “I wanted to go to a bigger school and I’m excited that I’ll be getting the experience of going to a Big Ten school as an athlete and as a student rooting on all the teams.”

Rice posted six shutouts for coach Rich Sutherland’s Eagles that went 9-7.

“I was the only freshman on varsity,” Rice said. “Right off the bat my teammates made me feel welcome. I tried to be supportive every year after, because I knew how it felt to be a freshman or sophomore looking to compete with older players.”

Sutherland said: “Avery has been a four-year varsity player at Trumbull and finished her senior year as captain of the team. She is an accomplished and very athletic goalkeeper, who is more than capable of pulling out a top class save at any time in the game.

“Maryland is an excellent school and will without a doubt challenge Avery, but it is through these challenges that we improve as individuals and find the strength to become stronger. We all wish Avery the very best of luck in Maryland.”

Head coach Ray Leone’s Terps posted a 9-8-3 record last season, 5-5-1 in the Big Ten.

“Over the past few years, schools would come watch us play during the regular season and tournaments,” Rice said. “I went to camps at Maryland and contacted coaches in January. I visited and I loved the team spirit and met with senior keeper Erin Seppi, who will be graduating.

“Maryland is a great academic school. I plan on taking marketing or communications.”

Rice began playing AYSO at age 4 and followed the usual path, moving on to travel and then club teams.

“Hope Solo with the National team has always been my role model,” Rice said. “She is crazy good. I like her aggressive play and the way she communicates her view on politics and social issues.

“Communication is the most important thing between a keeper and the backline. It is vital that it goes smoothly and then works its way up the field from the back.”

Rice will report to College Park in early August.

“They sent me a summer packet to work with,” Rice said. “I’m looking forward to improving in all areas and playing against the best competition.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354