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Buckler's versatility is key for Rochester Adams

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At first glance, Rochester Adams senior Tiffany Buckler seems easy to miss on the field. The diminutive midfielder is one usually one of the smallest players out there.

But her impact is on the game is huge. “People underestimate her because of her size sometimes,” Rochester Adams head coach Aaron Donaghy said. “But her ability to control and read the game defensively – she doesn’t pull on her tackles. She’ll win the ball in the air. She plays physical.”

Buckler has been playing since she was only four years old and currently competes for both Rochester Adams and Michigan Hawks ECNL elite club, where she plays central midfield. But for Adams, she moves around the midfield – sometimes playing in the center, sometimes using her speed on the wing. Occasionally, she even fills in at defensive midfielder or striker. In short, she plays wherever Donaghy needs her at any given moment. “It’s easy to play her everywhere because no matter where she plays – I could put her in goal – she gives 110%. Tiff just works,” Donaghy said.

But that should come as no surprise since Buckler is all about helping the team. “The big thing, for me, is that she wants to give her best for her team. This has been Tiff since freshman year,” Donaghy said. “Whatever it takes, she’s just going to give her best. But really, what’s in her heart, the reason why she does it is that she’s playing for everybody else. It’s just her nature, her will to make sure she’s playing for her teammates. She channels their energy.”

Still, given her choice, Buckler likes the center midfield position best, “It depends on the game,” she said. “I like center mid though just because I’m able to have everything in front of me and can control more stuff.”

Buckler wants the responsibility of being a leader on the team both on and off the field, “I don’t do captains. All of my seniors, I expect them to lead, and she leads by example, no question,” Donaghy said.

In the fall, Buckler will be moving on to Western Michigan University where she will join fellow Highlanders Kylie Nylen and Mackenzie Barber, along with several other players from southeast Michigan on the Broncos. “I had other places to go. But when my choice got down to it, I’d rather stay a little closer to home so my parents can still come to my games,” Buckler said.

But for now, she has one more season left with the Highlanders, and when asked about her aspirations for the year, her answer was once again focused on the team. “Just to have positive improvement every game, I’m not looking to be down on anyone, but as long as we improve every game we’re going to be good,” she said.

Last Updated: 4/8/2014 8:20:31 PM EST

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