Megan McEachern knows the Illinois State University campus well, and her wardrobe already includes a starter set of Redbirds gear.
Becoming the third sibling who will attend ISU has its advantages in developing a quick comfort level with her future school.
McEachern, a Batavia junior, has two years before her relationship with ISU grows more personal. The standout midfielder offered the Redbirds' women's soccer program her verbal commitment Tuesday.
McEachern's brother, Sean, and sister, Lindsay, attend ISU now but both project to graduate before she arrives in Normal in 2016.
Her family's familiarity with ISU helped embolden McEachern to make a relatively early college decision, choosing the Division-I Redbirds over options such as Wisconsin-Whitewater and Wisconsin-Parkside.
"I really liked it because I'm so familiar with the school and [the university] has a lot of different majors, and I don't know what I want to do yet, so that was a plus," McEachern said. "And then I love the soccer program … and I wanted something kind of close to home, so that's going to work out, too."
McEachern attended a soccer camp at ISU that concluded Sunday and had a follow-up conversation with ISU head coach Drew Roff, who offered McEachern a scholarship, but wanted her to make up her mind in the next few weeks.
Turns out, McEachern only needed about 48 hours.
"I kind of just jumped on it right way because I knew I wanted to do it," McEachern said.
While making a college decision the summer after her sophomore year is an accelerated timetable, McEachern is not one to dawdle when it comes to her soccer career. She cracked Batavia's varsity lineup as a freshman and scored two goals in the team's season-opening match. McEachern remained an offensive focal point for the Bulldogs as a sophomore, earning Kane County Chronicle Honorable Mention All-Area honors.
McEachern plays travel soccer through Tri-Cities Premier, the program through which she met Geneva senior Megan Kozlow, who previously verbally committed to play for the Redbirds.
McEachern's siblings project to be ISU graduates by fall 2016 but Kozlow figures to be waiting.
"I think it's cool knowing someone, at last when you go in," McEachern said. "I actually like that, and she's really nice, so it'll be fun."