The University of Parkside’s Women’s Soccer Team is currently ranked 17th in the NCAA Division II standings, and 2nd overall in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. At the front of the Rangers attack, is sophomore striker Shannon Becker.
From DePere, WI, Shannon Becker has been playing soccer for just about her whole life.
“I started when I was about five years old,” said Shannon, “My brothers and sisters all played, and then one of my friends told me, ‘Hey you’re really good. You should play at a higher level.’ That’s when I joined a more serious club in the area, DePere Select, and it kind of just went from there.”
She played for DePere Select before she started at DePere High School. In her time with DePere HS, she would be a part of four conference title winning teams, and helped DePere reach their first ever State Tournament appearance. In 2007, the Green Bay Press Gazette honored Shannon with a Player of the Year distinction.
In that 2007 season is where things really got off and running for Shannon, quite literally.
“In my first two years of high school, I was an outside midfielder. I hated that position. It was constant up and down, run, run, run, run. In my junior year, which is the best year I ever had, I moved up top. That’s when I knew where I wanted to be on the field.”
Also attaining First Team All-Area and All-Conference distinctions in her playing time for DePere HS, Shannon Becker would eventually be given a scholarship to play soccer here at the University of Wisconsin Parkside.
“I didn’t think I was going to be playing in college,” Shannon said with a smile on her face, “I really wanted to, but I just didn’t know if it would happen.”
Did it ever happen, as Shannon would make huge contributions to Parkside’s Women’s Soccer team in her freshman year. Last year, Shannon Backer started every game and would finish second on the team in scoring, with 27 points. The Great Lakes Valley Conference would see fit to award her with Freshman of the Year honors.
With such a great freshman campaign, and the previous successes in high school, I had to ask if the attention and success adds that much more pressure.
“I never thought I’d receive Freshman of the Year, which is quite an honor, but I like knowing that people expect so much from me. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s good pressure. The coaches believe in me, that I can do well, and believe that I can keep it up.”
While she admits to the pressure, she also sees her awards more as a reflection from how the team played, as a whole, than herself.
“It’s certainly an honor to win something like Player of the Week, but you can’t be Player of the Week if your team hasn’t succeeded with you. It’s nice to have it, but you can’t do it without the team. It’s no one person show, it’s all about the team, otherwise you’ll never be able to win these kind of things.”
The team has played exceptionally well this year under coach Troy Fabiano. The team is playing with amazing pace, and is turning out great results to start the season. This weekend they’ll be playing twice on campus, Friday at 1pm against the University of Southern Indiana, and then Sunday at 12pm against Kentucky Wesleyan College.
“Southern Indiana is going to be our big challenge this weekend. They’re a very physical team, have played a lot of great teams early this year, and played them all really close. They’re obviously a good team, very physical, so we have to be ready to hold our own.”
Shannon refused my offer to get some trash talking started before the game, simply adding, “We just need to come out strong, and pick up two wins this weekend.”