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Walbruch makes dream come true, signs with UCLA soccer

By Darnell Dickson - | Nov 11, 2021
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Highland's Ellie Walbruch prepares to sign with UCLA soccer at a ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Ellie Walbruch, who signed with UCLA soccer, is overcome with emotion as she thanks friends and family on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Highland's Ellie Walbruch prepares to sign with UCLA soccer at a ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Cupcakes with the UCLA logo are part of the decorations at Ellie Walbruch's college soccer signing day festivities on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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a UCLA banner adorns the wall at Ellie Walbruch's college soccer signing day activities on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Ellie Walbruch poses for photos with her aunts, Lindsey Shipley (left) and Cami Kessler, before her college soccer signing day ceremony with UCLA on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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A table adorned with UCLA decorations and a national letter of intent await Ellie Walbruch on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Family and friends await a college soccer signing day ceremony for Ellie Walbruch, who signed with UCLA, on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Highland's Ellie Walbruch prepares to sign with UCLA soccer at a ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)

At the tender age of 14, Highland’s Ellie Walbruch made an oral commitment to play soccer at UCLA.

On Wednesday, that dream became a reality when the American Fork senior signed her letter of intent with the Bruins.

It’s been a long journey of hard work and sacrifice for Walbruch, but the results are more than impressive. She is rated as the No. 15 soccer player in the country, the No. 1 player from Utah and a member of the No. 1 women’s college soccer recruiting class for Amanda Cromwell and UCLA.

Walbruch got a head start on her career by signing her first Name, Image and Likeness deal at the ceremony as well. She’ll represent a Utah company, 7 League Athletics, which makes athletic bags for all sports.

Her signing ceremony was attended by family, friends, coaches and trainers. She thanked them all and got emotional as realized just how many people played a role in her journey.

“It was overwhelming,” Walbruch said. “I got up there and cried before I even started reading what I wanted to say. It kind of took me off guard, but I had to thank all the people who have helped me.”

UCLA was her school of choice pretty much from the start.

“I feel like I’ve prepared myself both on and off the field to play at UCLA and thrive there,” Walbruch said. “I feel like I’ve worked so hard, especially with all the people in my life that I mentioned that got me there. I’ve worked my butt off so I feel like I’ll do great at UCLA.”

Walbruch decided not to play high school soccer but focused on her LaRoca FC club team and the US Development Academy in Ogden. She worked with her father, Matt, when she was younger but then employed individual trainers such as James Jaramillo, ran in the early mornings with her mother, Emily, and worked out with her brother, Kyle, who will play soccer at Utah Valley when he returns home from his church mission.

Ellie Walbruch missed out on some of the typical high school activities (she’s attended American Fork) but said the sacrifices have been worth it.

“I feel like this is more than even I wanted it to be,” she said. “It’s everything I ever wanted: The soccer, the atmosphere and the people there. I couldn’t ask for a better university to go to.”

Walbruch was courted by every major women’s soccer program in the country, including UCLA, BYU, Stanford, Texas, Notre Dame, Oregon and North Carolina, among others. She plans on studying exercise science and maybe even getting a nursing degree after her soccer is done. She also has a goal to play professionally.

UCLA is currently undefeated (16-0-3) and a No. 2 seed in the Women’s College Cup, which begins this weekend. The Bruins have reached the Final Four twice recently (2017 and 2019) and won the national title in 2013.

Walbruch will join the UCLA program in January and her new adventure will begin.

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