Women’s soccer’s best all-time

The UW-Parkside women’s soccer team’s season has come to a close again at the hands of perennially number one ranked Grand Valley State University. The two sides squared off again in the sweet sixteen of the NCAA Division II tournament at Grand Valley State, and the regional foes proved to be too overwhelming. Despite having a player sent off for the final twenty minutes of the match, UW-Parkside fell by the score of 3-1.

While the end of this season can be bittersweet, the team still managed to produce yet another stellar season: going 13-4-2 overall on the campaign, reaching the GLVC semi-finals, and defeating Quincy in the NCAA Division II tournament to reach back-to-back sweet sixteen appearances. Though many of the great student athletes for the UW-Parkside women’s soccer team will return next season, one of this year’s senior class will be quite noticeably absent from the 2012 squad. Having shattered all major scoring records in program history, Shannon Becker is a UW-Parkside athlete who can go down as one of the University’s all-time greats.

Hailing from DePere, Wisconsin, Shannon Becker has always been around the game of soccer.

“I started when I was about five years old,” said Shannon. “My brothers and sisters all played. 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.”

Shannon played at DePere Select until joining the DePere High School’s women’s soccer team. It was here that she helped contribute to four conference title winning teams, as well as getting DePere High School to their first ever appearance in the state tournament. In 2007, Shannon was recognized as the Green Bay Press Gazette Player of the Year. It would be the first of many team and individual successes for her.

“I got recruited here pretty early,” said Shannon of joining the UW-Parkside women’s soccer team. “My coach had really talked up the program, how successful it was, and what I could do for the program. I want to be on a winning team, and that was the number one thing.”

In her time with the program, the women’s soccer team has been crowned Great Lakes Valley Conference champions twice. The team has also qualified for the NCAA Division II tournament three times in her career, a feat only accomplished twice in program history prior to her joining in 2008. It is these team accomplishments that Shannon Becker thrives upon.

“Honestly, I never ever expected to get anything that I have gotten,” said Shannon on her individual success. “With team success comes the individual award. If [the team] wouldn’t have had success I wouldn’t be scoring, assisting, or getting points in general.”

The amount of individual honors Shannon Becker has accumulated in her time at UW-Parkside is almost endless: 2008 GLVC Freshman of the Year, Daktronics 2010 Midwest Region Player of the Year, and 2010 GLVC Women’s Soccer Scholar Athlete of the Year, just to name a few. The glaring thing that stands out with Shannon Becker is the numbers she has produced. Her points total after the 2010 season itself stood at an even 100 points, surpassing the all-time record with her senior year yet to come.

In her senior season, this year, Shannon found the back of the net eight times, pushing her career goal total past Bryanna Jurvis’ record set in 2001 set at thirty-nine goals. Shannon scored forty-two goals in her career, but the record setting goal perfectly summed up the player that she is. The historic goal happened in a 4-0 rout at home against Kentucky Weslyan. Shannon was all alone up top, with defenders back, but she still managed to score. She ran past one defender, cut in front of another, and slotted it home.

“In that moment, I was like, ‘oh my god this is it,’” said Shannon of her record breaking fortieth goal. “I remember passing the defender, I see the wide open back post, ‘I’m going for it.’ It was a great feeling.”

With the all-time points and goals scoring record in the bag, it would feel the assists record would be a bit of a reach to attain as a forward who specializes in finishing off passes from midfield. Generally, forwards are supposed to be your snipers and goal poachers. While Shannon did that in bulk, her presence on the field required more than just a natural goal scoring ability. She always drew the attention from defenders who would often resort to shadowing and double-teaming her as a means to shut her down. This is where her ability to pass simply shined. Each and every year her assists totals increased: 9 (2008), 11 (2009), 12 (2010), and 15 (2011). On what would prove to be her final contest at Wood Road Field, Shannon managed to break Allison Wild’s all-time assists record, which stood at fourty-five.

“I think she has brought that facet to her game because she has been getting so many double teams, triple teams,” said UW-Parkside women’s soccer head coach Troy Fabiano of Becker’s passing abilities. “She’s been having to find her teammates, and she has. As a forward to have a record that’s usually for a center midfielder…it is going to be difficult to find a recruit like that next year to replace.”

Shannon Becker finished her career line with all-time program records for points (131), goals (42), and assists (47). She remains a student at the University of Wisconsin Parkside, and hopes to graduate as a Fitness major.

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