Rachel Horn (center) was one of 72 girls to get invited to the Southeast All-American Showcase. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Horn.)

Durant freshman standout Rachel Horn is turning heads in the soccer community. She was recently one of a select few to have been invited to the Southeast All-American Showcase that will occur from Thursday to Saturday, June 17-19 in Daytona Beach.

The showcase will feature top players from the classes of 2021-24 and includes both high school and club soccer players from across the state. There were a total of 144 players invited (72 boys and 72 girls) and they will be divided into four teams.

“Being selected for this showcase means so much to me,” said Horn. “I had really been wanting to get the chance to be in the All-American, and when I finally saw I had made it, I was beyond happy and honored.”

Horn has always had the talent and drive to become a competitive force. The youth director of the West Florida Flames and Horn’s former coach, Rocco Pecora, always knew that she was a special soccer player.

“Rachel has been a natural talent from a very early age,” said Pecora. “I remember her playing with boys and scoring a ton of goals since she was 5 years old. She’s always had an understanding of the game and brought a superior energy to every contest that remains true even to this day.”

Horn had an outstanding season for the Durant Cougars, starting as a freshman and scoring 11 goals, which was second on the team and third in Hillsborough County. She also earned Tampa Bay United Christmas Invitational All-Tournament Team honors. Horn has had success in the classroom as well, with a 4.0 unweighted GPA and a 4.54 weighted GPA.

Coach Kevin Varnadoe, who coached Horn from when she was 5 to 8 years old, isn’t surprised at her success. “I could tell she had the soccer IQ and the vision of the game at a young age,” he said. “She was always hardworking and had a knack for scoring goals.”

The super freshman’s ultimate goal is to play for a D1 college, and this showcase is a big opportunity for her to get exposure from colleges. According to the website, the All-American Showcase is open to college coaches, scouts and professional teams. In last year’s showcase, SEAA Sports confirmed that 90 college programs were in attendance from across the country, ranging from NCAA DI-D3, NAIA, NJCAA and NCCAA institutions.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to play and be coached by some of the best,” said Horn. “This showcase is a huge opportunity for me, and I’m so excited to be able to be a part of it. I know it’ll expose me to new environments and ways of playing. Overall, I’m so happy for this opportunity, and it’s what I will be looking forward to until June 17.”

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.