OSU then-junior forward Nate Kohl (27) fights for a ball during a game against Akron on Oct. 26, 2016. Credit: Harrison Reber | For The Lantern

He may be a former Michigan transfer, senior forward Nate Kohl is now scoring goals for Ohio State’s men’s soccer team.

On the field and off of it, Kohl is nothing short of a professional.

He’s coming off a career year and was not only named to the Big Ten Preseason Honors list, but was announced as a Senior CLASS Award candidate, an award given to Division I seniors who demonstrate leadership on their team.

Players from the men’s soccer program have won the award twice in the past three years, something Kohl takes pride in.

“The two guys from here in the past that got nominated were the winners. They’re really good guys and are excellent off the field,” Kohl said. “It just shows how these coaches have put excellence into us, not only on the field, but in the classroom and in the community. I’m honored to be a nominee.”

An Ohio native, Kohl left Michigan after his freshman year and transferred to Ohio State. He sat out the 2015 season due to transfer rules, but returned as a junior in 2016 and scored six goals and notched two assists (14 points) in his first year on the pitch as a Buckeye.

The highlight of Kohl’s comeback season? A double-overtime game-winner in Ann Arbor to beat his former team.

It’s been more of the same from Kohl in 2017. He’s tied for second on the team in both goals (two) and points (seven).

Kohl has come a long way in his short time at Ohio State, according to head coach John Bluem.

“He’s really matured and understands the role of the forward a little bit more,” Bluem said. “He hasn’t found the net much this year, and a lot of times forwards will get frustrated by that. There’s so much more that forwards offer in a game. So, the fact that he’s pressing the opposing defense more, he’s defending better than he was before, he’s doing all the things that a center forward needs to do.”

When Kohl isn’t lacing it up for the Scarlet and Gray, he’s in the community giving back.  

Whether it’s been for Kick It for Cancer, Soles4Souls or the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Kohl has volunteered in numerous charities over the years.

Every time he has an opportunity to take part, Kohl doesn’t think twice about it.

“It’s really eye-opening,” Kohl said. “I’m happy to do it every single time whenever there’s an opportunity. I love doing that stuff. When I want to Ecuador for Soles4Souls, it was an unbelievable experience. To see some of the stuff that they go through every day, it felt great to give back. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

Junior midfielder Abdi Mohamed contrasts well with Kohl’s style of play, and together they’ve formed an exciting pair on offense for Ohio State.

Kohl’s teammate for the past three seasons, Mohamed praised Kohl for not only the player he is, but also the leader he is on the team.

“He’s honestly one of the best human beings I’ve ever met,” Mohamed. “He’s always looking out for others. He has a great personality and on the pitch, he’s superb. Every time he’s on the field, he just works hard. It just pushes me to work as hard as he does. He’s a go-getter and is always looking to help his team out in whatever way he can.”

Nearing the end of his college days, the standout Buckeye hopes to continue his playing career at the next level.

If soccer doesn’t pan out, Kohl still wants to work his way up through the education system, with the hopes of one day ascending to the role of athletic director at Ohio State.

Either way, he’s determined to make something of himself.

“We’ll see how the end of this season goes,” Kohl said. “I hope something happens for me after this season and I get a shot at something. If I get a shot, I’ll step up to my competition. Regardless, I’ll do what I need to do to become something after soccer here.”

Sitting with a 7-7-1 record, the Buckeyes hit the road on Oct. 25 to take on the 2-7 Kentucky Wildcats.