Soccer has been part of my life since I was little. From running around playing “bunch ball” soccer as a kid to my current role at IFK Kalmar in the Elitettan league in Sweden, I’ve had a ball at my feet (and in my hands!) for more than two decades.
Growing up, I also enjoyed playing basketball and throwing shot put in track & field. By high school, though, it was clear to me that soccer was where I wanted to channel my focus and energy. Fast forward to the University of Connecticut, where I was fortunate to play alongside a talented squad while I pursued a degree in elementary education. Every season during my four years in Storrs, we continued to improve as a team – winning the conference tournament twice and making the NCAA tournament three times.
The summer before my final college season, I began thinking about playing professionally. I was committed to finishing my master’s degree – knowing that I would have a career in the classroom long after I hung up my boots. Following an in-depth conversation with my academic advisor, however, I decided I would give professional soccer a go.
So, two days after commencement in May 2017, I packed up my car and moved down to Maryland to work out with the Washington Spirit of the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League). While training with the first team and playing with the reserves was great for my development as a player, I wanted to get more game time under my belt. When an opportunity arose across the Atlantic in Norway’s top division (Toppserien), I said goodbye to family and friends and began my career as a professional soccer player.
Over the past four years, I’ve lived and played in Norway, Iceland, and most recently Sweden for two seasons. While I don’t know how much longer I’ll continue on this journey, I’m grateful for the opportunities and life lessons it has provided. Every team and every season have challenged me in different ways and taught me something new about myself. I am grateful for that pivotal conversation with my academic advisor and the endless support I receive from my family. I look forward to bringing everything I’ve learned into the classroom one day – once I hang up my boots for good.
Follow Emily's Professional football career by following her on Instagram: @emilyjoan_18