By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Regan Steigleder and Emma Cooper celebrated their college choices and spent some time looking toward the future on Wednesday at a national signing day celebration at West High.
Coaches across the state likely did their own celebration at the thought of Cooper and Steigleder moving on from West High.
The duo has been a nightmare for opposing coaches the past three seasons accounting for 117 goals while leading West High to a 54-10 record that includes a pair of state title appearances and a 3A crown in 2015.
“Every conversation I have ever had with another coach about our program always starts with Emma and Regan and what they bring to the program and what they mean,” West High coach Dave Rosenthal said. “They are the most devastating one-two combination that I have ever had and I’ve been around for 23 years.”
Next year Cooper and Steigleder will stop creating headaches for Mississippi Valley coaches and turn their attention to Big Ten opposition.
Steigleder signed a letter of intent to play at Northwestern next season while Cooper inked with Michigan.
“It’s really exciting,” Cooper said. “Just to finally feel like it has amounted to something. It has always just been a verbal commitment and I talked to my coach this morning and he was super excited.”
Cooper and Steigleder have been among the best players in Iowa since their freshman seasons.
Both earned second-team all-state honors from the Iowa Girls Coaches Association as freshman when they helped West High to a 16-4 record and 3A state tournament berth.
Over the last two seasons the duo has been essentially unstoppable.
Cooper and Steigleder have each scored 45 goals over the past two seasons while helping West High to back-to-back 3A title games.
A first-team all-state pick as a midfielder the last two seasons, Steigleder joins a Northwestern squad that posted one of the best seasons in program history in 2016.
Northwestern finished 16-3-4, won the Big Ten title and reached the Round of 16 in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998.
“There coaches are really good, it was a really good environment and obviously the academics are great,” Steigleder said. “Last year they were the Big Ten champs which was really awesome and made me more confident in my decision.”
Cooper is also a two-time, first-team all-state selection and has 61 career goals.
The senior forward is headed to a Michigan program that posted its fifth consecutive season with double digits wins last year, finishing 10-5-5 and reaching the NCAA tournament.
“I wanted to stay in the region so I didn’t visit too many schools, I looked mainly at the Big 10,” Cooper said. “When I got to Michigan they just had an amazing vibe.”