I had the good fortune to sit down for a conversation with Carly Wickenheiser, a 2015 graduate of St. Joseph who went on to play all four years at Texas Tech in the Big 12, wearing the captains armband her final two seasons. She earned her degree from Tech in December 2018, finishing in 3 1/2 years and began exploring a professional career. Her first step was signing with an agent, a trusted individual who has worked with a number of Tech players before her. Within a week of providing a highlight video in late January, put together by the Tech video staff, she was offered a position in Sweden and given a week to make a decision on whether to accept. She said yes and in February 2019 she traveled to Skellefteå, Sweden to join the team for pre-season. Carly Wickenheiser: My Path to Pro
She joined Morön BK, a team that had been promoted to the second level of the Damallsvenskan League, known as the Elitettan. There are 14 clubs at this level and the season runs from April to October, with teams playing 26 matches each in the season. The team had three Americans in 2019 and have added two more for this season, including defender Rebekah O’Brian from Tech, adding a little bit of home flavor for our girl. The best way to follow Morön BK I’ve found is via their Instagram, give them a follow.
I reminded Carly that this year marks a decade since I first began covering her game and it got off to a pretty solid start when I captured her golden goal against Incarnate Word in the Class 3 Quarterfinal in 2012 (see it below). The team lost to Ursuline in the semifinal that year and to St. Teresa as sophomores before going on to defeat St. Teresa in the final in 2014. They came back from 0-2 to tie the game before winning on Anna Martin’s golden goal direct kick in the second overtime. 2015 was the introduction of four classes and the Angel’s once again lost to St. Teresa in the semifinal that year as the Stars finally got their title, defeating the Emma Farley led FHC Spartans. Carly was named to the All-Midwest team as a senior but that was the only All-State recognition she earned during her High School career. The Player of the Year in 2015 was Dorian Bailey who went on to play for North Carolina and is now a member of the Washington Spirit in NWSL.
Carly played for Joe Becher for a decade and her Lou Fusz 96-97 team were locked in title battles during her high school years with Lou Fusz Wipke and Futura FC and the team finally broke through to capture the State Cup title as U18’s when they defeated Wipke on Maddie Pokorny’s brace on a cold day in December.
Her time with Texas Tech concluded in 2018 with the program’s fifth appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament after winning 14 games – the third-most in program history. Head Coach Tom Stone, the fourth head coach in school history, has transformed the Red Raiders into one of the top programs not only in the Big 12 Conference, but nationally as well as Texas Tech has been ranked in the top 25 or received votes during each of the last five seasons including Carly’s four years. She started 66 games during her time at Tech, including all 22 in 2018 while playing a a defensive midfielder (a six in US soccer nomenclature) the whole time. She was a team captain as a junior and a senior at Tech.
I very much enjoyed talking to Carly about her career and her continuing aspirations. We covered highs and lows, the importance of learning from the difficulties, the constant challenges faced and the work required to keep competing. She has been captain for Club, High School, College and was named captain for her professional team after six games last Spring. We talked about leadership obviously. Throughout the conversation, which was punctuated by her laughter, the importance of having fun and enjoying the game came through. It’s a timely and important message for all players with dreams of the next level. It never gets easier but as long as you enjoy it, you can find yourself in a wonderful position.
Texas Tech Pro Soccer Prospect Highlights
Listen to Carly during training
Golden Goal vs IWA (freshman year)
Anna Martin ties IWA in Quarterfinal (freshman year)