The true value of any soccer experience is the long-term impact it has on the players. This value is best assessed by hearing from the players that have been through the experience, moved on to college, and can look back with perspective on what they gained from their youth soccer careers – and the teams, coaches, teammates they worked with.
For many years, the coaches at FC Wisconsin Eclipse, and the player development curriculum used at FC Wisconsin Eclipse, has helped ambitious soccer players develop and become elite, and has opened doors to unique opportunities for players across Wisconsin. The players that have been through this process have had tremendous experiences as youth players, and many have gone on to have distinguished careers in college. Some have even represented the United States in youth national teams.
Every few weeks, FC Wisconsin Eclipse will put a spotlight on a former youth player that experienced this unique developmental environment, and can now look back with the advantage of time at what their youth soccer experience meant to them, how it helped them grow, and what they enjoyed the most. The first player to share her thoughts is Laurie Nosbusch.
Personally, Laurie earned call-ups to the U18 and U20 US Soccer Youth National Teams in 2002 and 2003, prior to moving on to the University of Wisconsin to play college soccer. At Wisconsin, her achievements continued to pile up over an incredible career:
Laurie finished her college career on most of the all-time record lists for Badger soccer players: 5th all-time in goals, 6th all-time in assists, 5th all-time in career points, and 9th all-time in games started. In 2010, she also led the FC Milwaukee WPSL team (coached by Christian Lavers and Monica White) to the WPSL National Final Four while earning WPSL All-Midwest First Team honors.
Laurie took the time to come out and work with the FC Wisconsin Eclipse teams last week, and afterwards to provide some thoughts on her time as a youth and collegiate soccer player.
How did you pick the University of Wisconsin – Madison as the place you wanted to go to school and play college soccer?
"I chose the University of Wisconsin-Madison because it has the perfect balance of academic and athletic excellence, and I wanted to be challenged in the classroom and on the field. I absolutely love the school spirit at UW, and I wanted the opportunity to represent the University as a Badger soccer player."
How did the training and competition you had as a youth player help prepare you for collegiate success?
"Constantly training with committed teammates in a competitive practice environment, receiving honest feedback from coaches, and playing games against the best teams in the country prepared me physically and mentally for college soccer. I believe I entered preseason my first year better prepared for the level of competition than most freshmen because of my youth coaches and teammates. I entered each subsequent preseason physically fit and technically sharp thanks to an excellent summer WPSL team."
What are your favorite memories of playing in college?
"My favorite memory is advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament as a sophomore. We advanced after winning a shoot-out on Friday night and winning 1-0 in regulation on Sunday afternoon. Both games were on our home field in Madison, and the fans created a fun environment to play in."
What are your favorite memories of playing youth soccer?
"My favorite memories of club soccer came from playing with basically all the same teammates for almost eight years. I absolutely loved the special team culture that we created by spending so much time working hard together to achieve our goals."
How do you think your soccer career (youth and college) helped you most?
"Playing soccer instilled in me an appreciation for teamwork, hard work, and determination. Also, years as a team captain helped me cultivate strong leadership skills. These values and skills have helped me succeed in school and in everyday life."
What is the best piece of advice you wish someone had given you while you were a youth soccer player?
"Take advantage of every chance you have to improve because even seemingly insignificant drills, practices, and games add up and make a difference in the end. The best players and teams are the ones that work every day to get better."