Mount Si grad Nikki Stanton is now playing for Sounders Women team
June 13, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
College player will spend her summer learning from the best
For Nikki Stanton, dreams do come true.
“This is as good as it gets,” she said.
The former Mount Si High School soccer player has found herself this summer playing alongside seven national team players in the Seattle Sounders Women team.
“I looked up to a lot of these girls when I was growing up,” she said. “I’m playing with the best players in the world, it doesn’t getting better that that.”
Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Stephanie Cox and Megan Rapinoe, are now Stanton’s teammates.
Not only is she playing with soccer elite, but the team is undefeated as of June 8, and it’s the squad in the league with the most national team players on it. Five of them will defend the U.S. at the Olympic Games in London this summer.
“The level of competition in our players makes us a little step ahead of the competition,” said Stanton, a psychology major at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn.
Stanton redshirted her freshman year due to injury so she has two more years of eligibility. She was set to play with an Issaquah team from the Washington Professional Soccer League earlier this year.
Stanton said she told the Issaquah team’s coach she would join her team unless she made the Sounders.
“She was really cool about it,” she said of the Issaquah coach. Then, she got an email from the Sounders inviting her to be in the players’ pool.
Now she’s playing midfielder with the players she idolized, an experience it took a while to get used to, but not too much that she misses a chance to talk shop with some of the greats in her sport.
“We traveled to Victoria, Canada on Friday and I got to hang out with Keelin Winters, a U.S. Women’s National Team player,” Stanton said. “Kind of just picked her brain, just to hear what it was like to be at the very top.”
Darren Brown, Stanton’s coach at Mount Si, predicted success for his former charge at the Sounders.
“She will turn heads as she always does,” Brown said, calling Stanton the best female high school player he ever coached.
Nikki was not just a player, he added, but a leader on and off the field.
“She has the ability and mindset to be a pro,” he said.
That’s part of the plan, Stanton said. She wants to play professionally, either in the U.S. or Europe.
Until then, she will enjoy her surroundings in Tukwila, surrounded by some of the top players in the nation.
Though Stanton plays for free, she probably would not trade her experience for anything. Practices began in April and the season ends at the end of a summer she won’t soon forget.
High-schoolers wanting to follow in her cleated footsteps need to push themselves out of their comfort zone, and seek out the best possible group of players to play with, she said.
“Find the people who want to work the hardest,” she said. “People who are better than you a lot of times, because you can push yourself so you can be at the same level as them.”
It also helps, she added, if you’re not averse to making sacrifices.
“A lot of it is taking it upon yourself to make your dreams come true,” she said. “If that means going out in the pouring rain to kick a ball by yourself, then that’s what it takes.”
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or firstname.lastname@example.org.