Kevin Colley, Staff Writer
McDERMOTT — Over her four-year soccer career at Northwest High School, Destiny Ruth has overcome some incredible obstacles.
Whether it’s been an injury on the soccer field or setbacks off it, any one of the obstacles that Ruth went through could’ve served as a deterrent to the senior pursuing a collegiate career in the sport.
Instead, the setbacks she faced only gave her more drive and determination, thanks to the help of several mentors — including Northwest coach Tim Amburgey and Waverly girls soccer coach Chris Murphy, who coaches Ruth in travel soccer.
“They just told me to keep pushing throughout the process and the perseverance that I had to go through when I was younger,” Ruth said. “God is my main focus in life, so my coaches and my family were saying to use soccer and my faith as my ministry to bring up His Kingdom.”
The standout defender, who stars at the center of the Mohawks’ defense, was officially rewarded for her persistence this past Thursday afternoon when she signed to play for Shawnee State women’s soccer program.
For Ruth, the ability to take her soccer game to the next level is something that can hardly be described in proper words.
“Throughout my whole life, I’ve always wanted to play soccer at the next level,” Ruth said. “For it to happen is like a dream come true. It’s a blessing to me and my dad.”
Despite dealing with various injuries during her time at Northwest, Ruth was part of a soccer program that improved a great deal through her own leadership. Over the past two years, the Mohawks have went from 1-10-6 and 2-14-1 — a combined 3-24-7 during Ruth’s sophomore and junior seasons — to 6-11-1 in 2018.
Last season, Northwest finished its final 11 games with a 5-5-1 overall mark while losing to eventual district champion Wheelersburg by a lone goal.
During that same stretch, the Mohawks also defeated Piketon, 4-1, earning the program’s first postseason victory since its inception in 2013.
“Tim has always been a role model in my life,” Ruth said. “For me, he shaped me into the player I am today and taught me to be grateful for everything I’ve done, both inside and outside of the game. As for my team, [her teammates] are awesome. I love every single one of them. On and off of the field, they’ve encouraged me to step out and be a leader. It’s their encouragement that has allowed me to become the player I am today. For our program to have the successful season that we did is huge. To have it come together like it did was fantastic and it’s truly a great feeling.”
Ruth’s ability to accept different positions and roles throughout her career has arguably been as critical to Northwest’s improvement as anything else.
A midfielder initially, Ruth was moved from offense to defense due to, in large part, the toughness that has been on display throughout her career.
“It meant everything to me,” Ruth said. “When I played in middle school and I was younger, I never thought I would ever be in the center of a field as a defensive player because I was a midfielder throughout my whole career. When I got to high school and played my first season of club, they put me in as a defender and I fell in love with it. I’m happy that Tim continued to place me in that role, and I’ve just continued to fall in love with it every time I’ve played there.”
At Shawnee State, Ruth will get to join forces with several Northwest hands, including Trenton Stenger, who is a second-year assistant coach inside the program, and Sydnie Jenkins, who has already declared her intentions to sign with the program this fall.
With that duo already firmly in place, along with head coach Natasha Ademakinwa, who just finished her first season at Shawnee State, the Bears certainly look to have a bright future.
“It’s awesome,” Ruth said. “I’m glad that I get to play with Sydnie. On the field, we know where each other’s going to be at. It’s just awesome to know that I’m going in with someone I want to play with. I get to watch her grow as an individual and as an athlete. I got an email this summer from Natasha to go to an open field tryout, and I got to meet a lot of players that were there. I just fell in love with the atmosphere of the team. I felt welcomed. Natasha’s an awesome person, and I’m glad that I get to play with her next year and that she gets to coach me.”
No matter who she’s around, however, it’s clear that Destiny Ruth has handled the best and the worst that life has to offer with incredible resiliency and poise — which will make her successful long after she graduates high school and beyond her college playing days.
“These are the people that stuck by me through it all,” Ruth said of her father, along with her coaches, teammates, and school administrators present at the signing. “Through all of the injuries that I had to face during my career and stuff, they were there with me through it all … especially my dad. My dad being here is huge. We had a family emergency a month ago, and we had to postpone the signing. For him to be here and watch this is awesome. It’s truly an amazing experience, and I’m glad I get to make my dad proud. Playing soccer at the next level is an amazing opportunity.”