February 1, 2017 is one of the biggest days in soccer for players graduating high school in only a few months - it is the day that they sign their National Letters of Intent and make a commitment to college soccer. While nearly every young player that starts the sport dreams of the day that they have the opportunity to put on a collegiate jersey, very few - less than 5% of total players - ever accomplish that goal.
At FC Wisconsin, we help players reach that goal every year. In fact, nearly 90% of every graduating class in the club's history has moved on to college soccer, and the class of 2017 is no different. As of today, 13 players from the class of 2017 have made commitments to college soccer (10 in Division 1), with a few more commitments pending in the coming weeks:
- Kristina Barczak: Depaul University (BIG EAST)
- Elyse Bennett: Washington State University (PAC-12)
- Hannah Compernolle: Southeast Missouri State (OHIO VALLEY)
- Taylor Kerwin: University of Louisville (ACC)
- Andrea Lopez: University of Rochester (UAA)
- Hanna Lech: Oral Roberts (SUMMIT LEAGUE)
- Mia Manney: Depauw University (NCAC)
- Bianca Stubler: University of Wisconsin - Madison (Track)
- Michaela Hoard: Depaul University (BIG EAST)
- Maddie Hoitink: Cornell University (IVY LEAGUE)
- Kristen Reikersdorfer: Washington University - St. Louis (UAA)
- Taylor Tabbert: University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (HORIZON)
- Jen Wandt: Baylor University (Big-12)
- Katie Wegmann: Southeast Missouri State (OHIO VALLEY)
The FC Wisconsin Class of 2017 will be sending players to 3 of the Power 5 Conferences, and 10 Conferences overall. As a member of the ECNL, these FC Wisconsin players are part of the more than 1,300 graduating seniors in the ECNL Class of 2017 moving to college soccer - showing the unmatched and unprecedented quality and strength of the ECNL and its clubs.
Some of the FC Wisconsin graduating seniors shared their thoughts on the college process, and how they made their decisions:
Why did you choose the college you did?
- Andrea Lopez: The University of Rochester offers not only a top undergraduate education, but also has an amazing soccer program that resembles a family. I am thinking about majoring in Brain and Cognitive Science, and Rochester offers one of the best programs in that major. The soccer program is fully supportive of each and every player while still building a family environment.
- Taylor Tabbert: One reason I chose to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was because of the atmosphere. The campus is the perfect size for me in the fact that it isn't too large or too small. The student population is very diverse, friendly and welcoming. It's location is ideal because I am still close to home where my family can come support me. Furthermore, Coach Fabiano is a great coach and is creating a successful program I am very excited to be a part of.
- Jen Wandt: I chose Baylor because I loved the culture of the program, the great academics and the warm weather! When I visited it just felt like the right school for me and I knew no matter what I would be happy there.
- Madeline Hoitink: I chose Cornell because I have always wanted to go to the best academic school possible. It's been my dream to play soccer in the Ivy League since sixth grade. I absolutely love the campus and the coaching staff, and I have always wanted to attend college outside the Midwest.
- Katie Wegmann: SEMO's soccer program has an incredible family atmosphere but is also quite competitive. And most importantly the academics are great.
- Kristina Barczak: I chose DePaul University because I immediately felt at home on campus on my visit and was drawn to the city of Chicago and all of the opportunities there to broaden my perspective in life. I also connected really well with the coaches right away and knew their program in the Big East was a good fit for me soccer wise.
- Taylor Kerwin: I chose the University of Louisville for many reasons. I loved their team chemistry and just the whole atmosphere surrounding the team and the school. I knew that playing in the ACC was not going to be easy which is exactly what I wanted. I wanted somewhere that will challenge me everyday and make me into the best soccer player I can be and I felt Louisville was the best place for making all of that happen.
What are you most looking forward to as a collegiate student-athlete?
- Andrea Lopez: I'm looking forward to growing as an individual on and off the field. I am excited to enhance my knowledge in the classroom while still growing as a player and a teammate. I'm extremely excited to be part of the University of Rochester family.
- Taylor Tabbert: I'm looking forward to competing at the next level in college. My time at FC Wisconsin has been preparation to play at the collegiate level and I'm excited to challenge myself physically and mentally on the soccer field. I'm also very excited to be furthering my education to fit things I am passionate about.
- Jen Wandt: I'm looking forward to meeting new people and the opportunity to play at the next level! Club has prepared us for this so I think it's very cool we finally get to go and compete with and against some of the best players in the country in college now.
- Madeline Hoitink: I am looking forward to continuing my soccer development and meeting people from all around the world.
- Kristina Barczak: I am most looking forward to being able to continue playing the sport I love most because the game has taught me so much on and off the field and has given me direction in my life. I look forward to continuing my soccer career and working harder each and every day to reach my full potential and striving to be able to contribute on the field in college.
How has FC Wisconsin helped prepare you for this moment?
- Andrea Lopez: FC Wisconsin has not only helped me prepare for college soccer but has really influenced the person I am today. It has taught me the value of hard work and to constantly push myself to overcome difficulties so that I can continue to grow. I've learned what it means to be proud of the club, but also the responsability that comes with it. FC Wisconsin has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life.
- Taylor Tabbert: FC Wisconsin and playing in the ECNL has prepared me for college soccer by providing a competitive environment where I have been pushed to my physical and mental limits. Not only have I furthered my technical ability in this environment, but I have became tactically more aware of the game. But most importantly, if there was one thing I had to take away from this club, it would be you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- Jen Wandt: FC Wisconsin has helped me because we trained at such an intense level, so I feel ready for the speed of college soccer! It also helped me branch out and try to be a leader which I think will help a lot in college.
- Madeline Hoitink: FC Wisconsin provides an atmosphere like no other. Every single day I felt challenged by my coaches and other players. Being in this program since its beginning has taught me to appreciate the game more and has allowed me to test myself against the very best players in the country. I can honestly say that I would not have my opportunity at Cornell if it weren't for this program and the ECNL.
- Katie Wegmann: This club has prepared me so well for college. The coaches and players have taught me what it truly means to compete as well as what it means to be apart of something bigger than myself - two things I think will transfer over at the college level.
- Kristina Barczak: FC Wisconsin has helped prepare me by providing me with the leadership and work ethic skills essential to performing well on the field. It has instilled in me a drive to succeed and constantly push myself out of my comfort zone so that I am constantly stretching my limits mentally and physically. This club has grown me into the strong and resilient person that I am today and that I don't know if I would have become if not for my involvement in this club.
- Taylor Kerwin: FC Wisconsin has taught me what it really means to work hard, be apart of a team, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. The club not only prepared me for next level soccer but has also prepared me for how to succeed in life, teaching us the important of communication, how to work in a group, importance of thinking outside the box, selflessness and commitment, just to name a few.
Congratulations to the FC Wisconsin Class of 2017!