Alex Lutz – 

There are freshmen everywhere in sports this year, and the women’s soccer team at University of Wisconsin-Stout is no different. With only two seniors on the team and fifteen freshmen, the women’s team is as young as it gets. The two seniors are Melissa Rice of Madison, Wisc. and Sydney Kasper of Owatonna, Minn.

With the youth on the team, there is always the hard part of building a new dynamic. Kasper said, “With so many new players there are going to be kinks to work out because as a team we have to figure out how to play together. Finding that team chemistry and figuring out the roles where players can excel took a little longer just because we had so many new players.”

Rice shared some of Kasper’s views on having so many new players saying, “Having so many new players has been exciting because they all have a lot of talent, but it has been a process figuring out our team dynamic and how to work together.”

When it comes to those freshmen and their upcoming years, both Rice and Kasper agreed that the freshmen will probably do some amazing things in their careers. Both had some advice to pass down to the lower classmen on the team. Rice said, “I would tell them that they are lucky to be a collegiate athlete. It is not an opportunity everyone gets. Cherish these next years because they go by fast.” Kasper wanted to let her team know, “Don’t take any season for granted, it goes by way too quickly to not put everything you have into every single game and practice.”

Though the team has a losing record, Kasper said, “Our record doesn’t reflect the talent we have on this team.” Stating that they have played a lot of tough competition and struggled to find their groove in the beginning of the season. She also said, “We have taken a lot of our tough games and turned them into learning experiences, and that is really what this year has been about. Learning and growing as a team and as players.”

Kasper will be graduating in May and has plans to become a special education teacher for middle or elementary school and has plans on staying in the Midwest after graduation. Rice will graduate in December of 2019, so she hopes to be involved with the Stout team as much as she can next fall. When she graduates, she would like to get a job in product development with a sportswear company and would love to continue playing soccer.

There is no doubt between them that they are leaving their team to capable players who will be able to do great things in the years to come.