WESTPORT—Ranked as one of the top 100 players in the country in her graduating class at the time, Clare Mengel had no qualms in giving a verbal commitment to Lafayette College as a freshman at Greens Farms Academy.

Three years later, it’s a decision she doesn’t regret in the slightest.

Mengel will officially sign for the school on National Signing Day Wednesday, culminating a four-year journey that has included plenty of soccer for multiple teams. She is the second Division I Dragon in two years, joining 2016 graduate Erin Reilly, who spent a semester in France before joining George Washington.

"I fell in love with the school right away when I visited, the coaches were what I wanted; they were so welcoming," said Mengel. "It was a relief I would say, because I see my friends this year stressing about the college process. This year was less stressful because of that."

Mengel has stood out for Connecticut Football Club on the premier circuit, playing with several top players from the area, including Lydia Shaw, Tia Zajec and Charlotte Rossi. The former Beachside Soccer product has spent her entire life in Southport, less than two miles from GFA.

Not only does Mengel have experience playing in the Elite Clubs National League with CFC, but she has experience in both local high school leagues. Mengel transferred to Fairfield Ludlowe and competed in the FCIAC for her sophomore year and was a vital contributor for the Falcons. She transferred back to the Dragons and immediately helped the team reach a new level.

"There are a lot of good teams in the prep schools, Greenwich Academy and St Luke’s for example," Mengel said. "The competition is really strong I thought, I really enjoyed it and I felt that we competed really well."

A box-to-box midfielder with a scoring punch, Mengel scored 14 goals and added seven assists as a senior for the Dragons, who went 10-6-3 and were eliminated in the FAA quarterfinals and New England Class C quarterfinals. Both tournament defeats were nail-biters, though, as GFA lost 1-0 to Greenwich Academy in FAAs on penalty kicks against St. Luke’s in the New England tournament.

There were several memorable moments for Mengel in her junior year with the Dragons, who went 13-4-4 that season. She first potted a goal in the final seconds to beat FAA rival Rye Country Day, then helped the school top Greenwich Academy for the first time in close to a decade.

Mengel joins a Leopards squad that went 7-8-4 a year ago, reaching the Patriot League semifinals for the first time in program history.

"I’m just excited for the Division I experience," Mengel said. "I’m excited for the challenge; being on a Division I college team is like a job, that’s what I heard. I’m excited to play with amazing players and the speed is going to be faster, and I’m excited for that challenge."

rlacey@bcnnew.com, twitter.com/ryanlacey11