Melissa Rucker - Soccer
Year Inducted: 2017
Melissa Rucker developed a strong passion for the sport of soccer at a very young age.
While she started kicking around the soccer ball as a 5-year-old, Rucker also competed in basketball, volleyball and track. Her skills on the soccer field led to a spot on a 19-and-under travel soccer team when she was 14.
The standout Port Huron High School athlete lettered in basketball, volleyball, track and soccer. She received the Times Herald Soccer Player of the Year Award and was the Blue Water Area’s first NCAA Division I collegiate soccer scholarship recipient.
Rucker played collegiately at East Carolina University and then Western Michigan University. She excelled on defense and outside midfield. She was a National Strength and Conditioning All-American, a member of the Athletic Academic Board, and co-captain at WMU.
Rucker played semi-professional soccer throughout the Midwest and was the assistant soccer coach at Smith College where she received a graduate fellowship to study. She traveled to Africa as a member of the first Coaches Across Continents team, teaching life skills through soccer to teachers and children as well as coaching exercise science.
Rucker participated in a cross-country bicycle ride to raise awareness for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall camps for children with terminal illness where she later worked as a counselor. She has coached varsity and club soccer teams in Michigan, Florida, California and Colorado.
Rucker lives in Durango, CO, with husband Ryan and children - Raya, Finn, Eleni. She continues to enjoy coaching and playing soccer, teaching and sharing her passion for sports with her family.