In January at the NSCAA Convention, Ally Miller and Dana Larsen were recognized and honored for being named Collegiate All-Americans. Both players played many years for the coaches of FC Wisconsin Eclipse, and were part of the launch of FC Wisconsin Eclipse this summer - speaking to young players about their experiences.
Ally Miller was named Second Team All-American for her outstanding play at Marquette University, helping the Golden Eagles to 4 straight NCAA appearances, including the Round of 16 in 2012 where they lost in a shoot-out to BYU. "It's an incredible honor to be named to the NSCAA All-American team and to be recognized as one of the top players in the country," said Miller. "To see the list of outstanding players and be a part of that group is very humbling. However, individual awards and recognition are the result of many factors coming together at the same time: great coaches and teammates, success as a team, staying injury free, a lot of hard work, sacrifice and commitment, a supportive family and God's blessing."
Ally was quick to note the role that youth club soccer played in helping prepare her for collegiate success: "Club soccer was such an essential part of my preparation for success at the collegiate level. I not only received top technical and tactical training, but I was fortunate to have similarly-minded and top talented players surrounding me to play against and push me daily at practices. I wouldn't have gotten to this level without that experience."
Dana Larsen was named Third Team All-American for her goal-scoring prowess at Baylor University, leading the Bears to 2 straight NCAA appearances, including the Round of 16 in 2012 where they lost in overtime to eventual NCAA National Champion North Carolina. "Being an All-American was quite a surprise," said Larsen. "I never really thought I would make it to this level indivdually, so it’s a great feeling that I am proud of but also very grateful for. Ending my career by being recognized as one of the top players in the country really emphasizes that all of my hard work did not go unnoticed; through it I became a better player than I ever expected to become. The best part for me though, is that I made some amazing friends during my college career and really just had fun with the game this season, knowing that it would be my final one."
Larsen also crediter her club career as a key part in preparation. "Playing high level club soccer really enabled my dreams of playing collegiately. Not only did it provide a soccer training environment that challenged me both mentally and physically to learn the game and become better every day, but also it provided me with resources for getting noticed by college coaches, such as information about when and what to email coaches, and playing in nationally recognized tournaments with many college scouts in attendance. I loved that many, if not all, of my teammates had the same goals as I did as far as playing college soccer, and we were able to push and support one another throughout the process. In that type of environment, where everyone is individually driven for a common goal, I finally believed that my dream was not just a dream, but that I could make it become a reality with the help of this club and my teammates."
Being an All-American is a tremendous honor that only 50 players in the entire country earn. (For the full list, click here.) To have 2 All-Americans from Milwaukee, both of whom came through the developmental program established at FC Wisconsin Eclipse and were part of launching the club, is also a tremendous honor.
Congratulations Ally and Dana! Your accomplishments are an inspiration to the next generation of FC Wisconsin Eclipse players!