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Alumni Spotlight | Ben and Ashley Thiss

By Ohio Elite Staff, 12/07/18, 8:15AM EST


Ben and Ashley Thiss share more than just a birthdate and a last name. The son and daughter of Mark and Helene Thiss (and siblings of Maddie Thiss), these twins have used their close bond, competitive drive, unmatched work ethic, and soccer talent as the foundation for the success that has followed them throughout their youth and collegiate career. 

Twin siblings, Ben and Ashley Thiss, recently completed the final season of their respective collegiate careers.  Ben will graduate from Radford University and Ashley will graduate from Cleveland State University.  The comparisons between them extend beyond their last name and the defining features that clearly make them a Thiss.  Both Ben and Ashley played for Ohio Elite, both had successful careers at Sycamore High School, and both went on to play college soccer at the Division I level.  Perhaps even more impressive, each of them were named captains of their respective teams at both the high school and collegiate level.  

Ashley Thiss came to Ohio Elite at u15 and played for our Academy Program.  Her first coach, Scott Sievering, recalls meeting her for the first time.  "Ashley was initially very quiet, but she had so many intangibles that it became impossible for her to remain as such.  I am not sure that I have ever coached a player that is as fast with the ball as without it.  Ashley's ability to dribble (with pace) in tight space is truly next level."  

Scott wasn't the only one to take notice.  As Ashley continued to develop as a player, she eventually moved to the ECNL team for her u17 and u18 seasons.  According to Executive Director/Coach, Tim Lesiak, it was Ashley's work ethic and relentless training habits that made her transition to the ECNL such a perfect fit.  "Ashley has never taken a play off and she has always held herself to a very high standard.  Whether in training or in a game, Ashley is going to push the limits of the opposition."

Following her career at Ohio Elite, Ashley went to play at Cleveland State University, where she made an immediate impact.  Earning quality minutes as a freshman was a precursor for what was to come.  By the time her sophomore season started, Ashley consistently found herself as a fixture in the starting eleven.  This is a trend would continue through her senior year, culminating with her being named Team Captain.  For all that know her, there is no question that this was an honor bestowed upon her as much for what she does on the field as off of it. Ashley's character, compassion, and high standards separate her as a truly special player and person.  

Ben Thiss started his career at Ohio Elite as one of the top boys in the program.  His fierce competitiveness, his physical strength, his athleticism, and his work ethic helped him to become a prominent defender.  These are traits that resonated into his high school career as well.   According to former Sycamore High School Coach, Ben Williams, "Ben Thiss is one of the most amazing leaders that I have ever coached.  To me, the sign of a great player is someone that makes his teammates better around him.  Ben never expects anything from his teammates that he doesn't expect of himself.  He is a team first young man that will instantly make any team better."  

Following his career at Ohio Elite, Ben went on to play at Radford University.  It is here that the true greatness of Ben Thiss was realized.  Ben entered the Radford Program as a walk-on.  After red-shirting his freshman season, he saw only limited time over the next three seasons and had to endure a change in coaching staff and the reality of a grueling academic/athletic schedule that had very little return when it came to playing time.  With the size of the roster, Ben was often left home for road trips to away games.   The urge to quit and/or to feel sorry for himself was undoubtedly strong at times, but quitting is something that will forever be foreign in the Thiss family.  Instead, Ben relied on the strong bond of his family, the core values within himself, and the focus of accomplishing his goals to continue to work hard and stick to the relentless effort that has always been the catalyst to his success.  The result.......He was named a senior captain and became a regular in the starting eleven during his final season at Radford.  His story is one that is an inspiration to anyone that has ever wanted to quit or has felt that they have been dealt a bad hand. 

College Highlights:

Ashley Thiss

  • 3.59 GPA
  • Horizon League All-Freshmen Team (Freshman Year)
  • Horizon League Second Team (Senior Year)
  • Viking Academic Team (All 4 Years)
  • Team Captain

Ben Thiss 

  • 3.76 GPA
  • Academic All-Conference Team (Senior Year)
  • Big South Conference All-Tournament Team (Senior Year)
  • Radford Board of Visitors Recognition from University President
  • Fraternity President
  • Team Captain