Era of excitement: Valley grad Nikki Stanton tapped to play with Sounders Women
August 2, 2012 · 2:52 PM
From the bright purple sneakers on her feet to the red PreWrap headband, Nikki Stanton is all about soccer.
A regular day for Stanton, a 2009 Mount Si grad who is now playing for Sounders Women, part of the Seattle Sounders Football Club, involves a morning workout and practice, training nine girls ages 14-16, running in the afternoon and coaching a Cascade U17 team in her spare time. Even while sitting down, she explodes with energy and excitement. It is easy to understand why she was chosen to practice with the Sounders and how she earned her way to a regular spot on the roster.
Stanton started soccer at a young age, first playing with her brother’s team at 4 years old. From there, she moved to local leagues, school sports, and select teams.
“It’s the only thing I ever do,” Stanton said happily. She stood out in high school, and was asked to practice with the Sounders before she graduated. However, she tore her ACL and was unable to continue.
Stanton had several college choices, and eventually chose Fairfield University, in Connecticut, where she was offered a full ride. There Stanton was lucky enough to have a coach who was “willing to put in the time it took for rehab,” she said. Nine months of rehabilitation later, Stanton was back on the field in her position as a defensive middle fielder. She threw herself into the sport she loved, and in May was asked to practice with the Sounders again. She has found the experience exhilarating.
Stanton has played in eight games, and said that playing with the team “is awesome, it’s just a bunch of girls who love the same thing, soccer.” Many players on the team play professionally, and Stanton says one of the best things about the experience is being able to “pick their brains” and learn from some of the best.
Asked what the most important thing she’s learned from her teammates and this summer was, she instantly responds, “it’s a mental game; you need to be positive and support your teammates” whether on the field or the bench.
“Every practice is like a tryout,” Stanton said. “It makes you want to work harder, you have to work to be put on the roster,” and Stanton has done just that, playing in important games such as the June 10 to 15 playoffs, when the team played three games in California. The Sounders are second in the Western Division, behind Pali Blues, who they played June 22 for a spot in the finals.
They played hard but lost 1-0.
Now finished with her season with the Sounders, Stanton is preparing to return to Connecticut this autumn for her senior year. She is “already excited for next season,” and looks forward to another chance at playing Pali Blues. Stanton is studying psychology and has big plans for her future.
“I finally decided what I want to do after soccer, I want to be a cop!”
Stanton wants to spend as much time playing soccer before that, though.
“It would be great to play in Europe, obviously, because you’re getting paid to play what you love.”
• You can learn more about Sounders Women at www.sounderswomen.com.
• Staff Intern Emilee Ruhland wrote this story for the Record. You can contact her at email@example.com