Aug. 6, 2017

Look out for Nate Kohl in 2017. A native of Hilliard, Ohio, the senior forward returns for his final season in the Scarlet and Gray after leading the team in scoring a year ago. A transfer from conference-rival Michigan, Kohl scored six goals for 14 points in his first year as a Buckeye in 2016, including a memorable double overtime game-winner in Ann Arbor. A powerful and physical striker for the Buckeyes, Kohl knows the 2017 squad, with 18 newcomers, will need his leadership and guidance to make a run at a conference crown this fall. We sat down with Kohl who is ready for preseason camp to arrive this week.  

What have you been up to this summer?
This offseason has been really busy. This summer I trained with the Columbus Crew like I have for the past few summers now. The one difference this summer was that I took six classes so my senior year will be an easy load and I can focus on this last season of college soccer. Taking so many courses, having practice and games throughout summer while also having lifts and speed school, it made for a very busy summer.

Looking back on last year, what have you learn the most to help you prepare for 2017?
For me I love learning and improving my game, so whatever I can take from past seasons and incorporate in order to not make the same mistake twice I will do. I’ve also learned how to become more of a team leader from last year and working with a new group of players. This year I plan to step up and be more accountable for my leadership role to make sure others will follow. As a senior, I realize that not only the newcomers but other members of the team will look to me to provide leadership and guidance to achieve our team goals.

You led the team in scoring a year ago and was named a second team All-Big Ten pick. Where does that rank in your soccer journey?

It was a great honor to be named to an All-Big Ten team last season and it’s something I will always cherish. However, I believe I can do better and that is my intention for this upcoming season. I’ve always been told that the sky is the limit, so until I get to my end goal I’m not fully satisfied. I believe that my success will come through the team’s success. I will do whatever is asked of me this season if it contributes to the team and our success as a team. At the end of the day, I can’t get to my end goal without the team and the guys that are in that same locker room as me. As a whole, we need each other in order for the success to come, it all starts next week and I could not be more excited.

Can’t forget that double overtime gamewinner at Michigan. What do you remember most about that moment?
That moment is still something I think about often. Not only going back to the place I started my college career, but also in front of the crowd that once cheered me on as a member of that team up north. Being in that moment where I was able to receive a great pass and able to score the goal to decide the outcome of the game was a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life as a Buckeye. Obviously, something I remember very vividly is when I ran over to the “Ultras” with my teammates and pounding that Block O on my chest is a perfect storybook ending for me.

What have you worked on with your game this offseason? Describe your type of play on the field.
For me specifically, I am a very attacking-minded player. During the spring and this summer, I worked mainly on finishing the opportunities that come my way. I feel as if I become more effective in the box by making better runs and being in the right position at the right times, I can score a lot of goals for us this season and help contribute to the team’s success. I have also learned from my opportunity to work with the Columbus Crew coaches that the pace of the game can be dictated based on my movement off the ball and can help put me in a better position to score additional goals.

Besides soccer, in the classroom you were named an Academic All-Big Ten. What is your major and what would you like to do once your playing days are over?
My major is Education. Hopefully my playing days go on a little while longer after college soccer but after those days are done, my goal is to become an athletic director and eventually work my way back here to Ohio State. In my opinion there is no better place to come back to and work at. I love Ohio State, coming back here to work would defiantly be a dream come true and is a goal of mine.

With 18 newcomers, how important will preseason camp be this year?
Like Hunter said, this will be an extremely interesting preseason. Having so many new guys this year will for sure take some time to getting used to playing with different and unique types of playing styles. However, if everyone buys in to what we are trying to do here for this season, I’m confident we will achieve the goals we set for ourselves. These new guys will come in and be ready to play right away and with the returners as well as the leadership, I believe we will have a successful preseason leading into the season. If we work hard together as one, we will be ready to start the season on a positive note.

Name a few teammates fans should keep an eye out on this year.
There are many guys on our team this year that Buckeye fans should keep an eye out for. Some people specifically are Niall Logue, Abdi Mohamed, Hunter Robertson, Parker Siegfried and coming off injury Brady Blackwell. Not only are these guys important returning players and starters for our team but they are pivot pieces to help our team reach the goals we have set for ourselves. These guys will help bring the valued leadership that is very important to obtain our teams success.

What matches are you most looking forward to on the 2017 schedule?
With this being my last season playing for Ohio State and playing inside Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, I am excited to play no matter who it is. Putting on the jersey for one last season is something I will take in each and every game. It’s going to be an emotional season that’s for sure so laying it all out on the line is a must. The big games we have at home for my senior year will be very important games towards the end of the season that I’m am looking forward to. Maryland being a powerhouse every year, coming into our house will be not be easy but defending Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium will being something we take pride in. Obviously, TTUN game will be a huge one and it would be nice to have the same goal just in front of our fans this time.

What will it take to get the team back to a postseason run this fall?
In order for this team to get back to the NCAA tournament and become Big Ten champions once again, everyone needs to buy into what we are trying to do as a team. With other teams that have had success in the past specifically the 2015 team had the heart, the drive and the determination to do great things. We became champions that year because everyone was on the same page and bought into the system. We had leaders that never let up, it started in practice with Kyle Culbertson, Zach Mason and Liam Doyle who set the standard each and every day that we needed to get better no matter what our record was. I already know before it starts that there will be difficult times but if we have each other and play for each other as one, I believe this team has the drive to do great things this year. I look forward to starting our journey next week as a team to once again bring some hardware back to Columbus.