Nicki wil be playing soccer for the University of Chicago Women’s Soccer Program in 2012
What made you choose Chicago? Did you have any other offers and interest.
I chose to attend Chicago because I believe that it is the best fit for me. When I first visited April of my junior year, I loved the campus and surrounding city. After talking with the head coach Amy Reifert and going on my official last October, I got to know the girls and coaches pretty well. This was when I realized that UChicago was where I wanted to go to college. It is an amazing school, located right in Chicago, has a gorgeous campus, and the perfect environment for me. I got along great with the girls and really felt like I could fit in with the team. I did have others offers and interests, but I am very confident with my decision in UChicago and believe that I will be successful there.
How did you get 'seen' by Chicago?
I was first seen by Chicago last March while attending the Las Vegas Showcase. The assistant coach saw me play and contacted me. I had some interest in the school but really did not know much about it as this point. I contacted the head coach, visited in April, and the following month PSV Union set up a training session with the head coach, Amy. I was fortunate enough to have her come out to California to host a training session and then watch me play in a game the next day.
How would you describe yourself as a player?
I consider myself an attacking outside player. I love to dribble and run at defenders while also keeping my options open. I love playing for my team and doing the best that I can at working for them. I consider myself a big team player and would do anything for my teammates. They are basically my family. It is so important to play for each other and with desire and passion so that together, you can succeed.
How long have you been at PSV union?
I joined PSV Union the second semester of my freshman year, so when I was 14. It has been an amazing experience for me and I really wish that I had joined the club earlier. I have learned so much from all of my coaches and truly would not be the player that I am today with out their help, guidance, and support.
What does a typical week of soccer look like for you? # of practices and games?
I train as often as I can with PSV Union, and when I cannot go, I train on my own. My usual training schedule looks like Monday/Wed/Fri (team training), Tuesday/Sunday (small group), and Saturday (game or training). I train on my own on Thursday and try to train twice a day on Saturday and Sunday.
What do you emphasize in your trainings?
At PSV Union, we work a lot on technical training and general soccer I.Q. It is extremely important to understand the game and have the skills to try new things when we want. Trainings are very challenging and we are pushed to try new things even if they make us uncomfortable. By being pushed, I am able to grow as a player and understand what I need to work on more in order to become a more well-rounded player.
Are the any good young players coming through the club?
There are a ton of good young players coming through the club! Even at 9 or 10, a lot of these players are able to juggle a couple hundred or pull a step over successfully in the game. By starting at PSV Union so young, the players will extremely benefit from all of this technical training and encouraging environment when they are older.
What some of your best experiences in soccer?
I’ve had so many amazing experiences in this club. I will never forget traveling to England the summer of 2009 to train, play games, and watch professional matches. It was an unbelievable experience getting to watch live Manchester, Arsenal, and Liverpool games and being able to train each morning and then different cities. Some of my favorite memories at Jordan Middle School are playing soccer tennis and small sided in the pouring rain on the courts or staying hours after practice to perfect this juggling ladder or all different types of strikes (bending, driven, chipped…etc). These memories will always be a part of me and have definitely helped me become the player that I am today. Hard work pays off!
What are your long term goals in soccer?
Soccer always has and always will be a huge part of my life. I am very excited to have the opportunity to play in college and continue to work on my game. My main goal as of right now is to become the best player that I can, continue to work hard and improve, and go into Chicago as an impact player- one who makes a difference on and off the field.
Any advice for young players wishing to pursue soccer in college?
Soccer is all about hard work, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice. In order to become good at what you love, you have to be willing to push yourself and make sacrifices. Believe me, there have been those difficult days that have made me want to give up, but I stuck with it. Never give up on your dream and do the most that you can to become the best. In the end, you should be able to look back on all that you have done and be proud. Don’t live with regrets.
Who is your favorite player and team?
My favorite player is Dani Alvez. He is an unbelievable attacking outside back from Barcelona and is a great role model for aspiring attacking defenders. I also really like Didier Drogba and Lionel Messi. My favorite teams are Barcelona and Chelsea.