After scoring an area-best 37 goals this season and guiding Prairie Ridge to its eighth consecutive Class 2A regional championship, Wolves forward Nikki Anderson now breaks a 19-year drought.
Despite the success of the Prairie Ridge program over the past eight years, a Wolves player had not earned Northwest Herald Girls Soccer Player of the Year since 2000.
Anderson takes home the 2019 crown, becoming the first Prairie Ridge player since 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup runner-up Amy LePeilbet earned the honor during her senior season at Prairie Ridge.
Anderson will play soccer at Division II Concordia University, St. Paul (Minnesota) and plans to study biology. She recently spoke to the Northwest Herald about the 2019 season, walking on her toes and her dog, Crystal.
What was your favorite moment from this season?
Anderson: There were a lot of moments. This year we had a really great team, and we all worked really well together. In the regular season, beating Cary-Grove was a great moment for us because I think we worked really hard that game, and it all really came together.
Did you ever think you’d score so many goals in one season?
Anderson: No. I didn’t really think about it. I just knew that, as a forward, it’s my job to score. Every game I just went out and tried to do that.
Your teammate Abby Eriksen scored 25 goals. What was it like playing alongside another high-volume scorer?
Anderson: It’s amazing. I love playing with her. We work together really well, and it helps that we know how each other plays so we can work off each other. She’s a great friend, a great teammate.
Eight straight regionals for Prairie Ridge. What does that say about the soccer program here?
Anderson: I think it shows how great our soccer program is. We’re always getting new talent every year, and our coaches are great. They’re always pushing us to work hard, and I think the players, too, are always willing to work hard, willing to get better. Every year, we’re just trying to be better than the last.
Who is your funniest teammate?
Anderson: Reanne Weil. She’s just always so positive and so energetic. She’s just a ball of energy. She always makes us laugh. She’s always outgoing and having fun.
Who is your favorite professional player?
Anderson: Abby Wambach was my favorite when she was playing. She’s obviously retired now. I like Megan Rapinoe a lot on the outside and Alex Morgan up top.
Who is your biggest hero?
Anderson: One of my old coaches, Darren Llewellyn. He was my coach since I was 7, U8 and up until last year. He really helped me be the player that I am, and he really taught me from a young age how to play. Even off the field, he’s always there and willing to coach me and help me through anything.
How did you meet up with him?
Anderson: It started with the Cary Defenders, and then we moved teams a few times. I always stayed with him because he was so great to me.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Anderson: This sounds really weird. I can walk on my toes. I don’t know if that’s a talent. I can walk up on them.
Like a ballet dancer?
Anderson: Yes. I don’t know. Apparently when I was younger I used to walk around like that. It sounds odd, but it just happened.
What talent are you no good at that you wish you could do?
Anderson: Anything musical. I can’t sing at all or play any instruments. If I could do that, it would be pretty cool.
What’s your favorite class in school?
Anderson: The sciences are my favorite. They’re the most interesting and most applicable to what I’m going to be doing with my life.
What’s your dream job?
Anderson: To become a vet.
So you must have a pet?
Anderson: I do. I have a dog. Her name is Crystal. A Chihuahua, dachshund, beagle mix. She’s a lot of fun.
What are three of your favorite movies?
Anderson: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “Peter Pan” and “The Greatest Showman.”