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Senior looks to play soccer at Hamline University
February 6, 2022
Natalia Shradar is preparing to play soccer at the college level next year. The senior varsity athlete signed with Hamline University, a private college in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Hamline competes as an NCAA Division III school, and the women’s soccer team is a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Shradar has been playing soccer consistently since the age of four, starting with a recreational league within the Omaha Futbol Club. She came to know and appreciate the sport on her own.
“I was introduced to soccer by myself. It’s the only sport I’ve ever played. I’ve done dance and figure skating, so it’s been the only actual sport I’ve played,” Shradar said.
While she cannot pinpoint the exact moment she began loving the game of soccer, Shradar remembers constantly being surrounded by it as she grew up.
“I had a lot of friends on my rec team, so that was really nice. Toward club soccer, my mom coached me, so I always played…I just learned to really like it because I was surrounded by it so much,” Shradar said.
She is grateful to the girls on her current club team for continuing to make soccer an enjoyable experience and for the effort they continue to put in.
“I love every single one of those girls on my club team. They’re super supportive and super fun and always set each other up for success. They make me excited to go to practice,” Shradar said.
Before Shradar found Hamline, she was “super set” on going to college and playing soccer in Florida. She looked into multiple Florida colleges during her junior year, but COVID made it difficult to keep up the contact.
“It was super hard to continuously go back and forth between Florida and Omaha. All of those coaches wanted to see me play at least three times before they gave me an offer, so that was a big commitment and a lot of time away from my own team,” Shradar said.
One of her assistant coaches told her to look closer to home, and that she might be surprised with the schools she could find.
“I followed her advice, and I found Hamline. I went up for a visit, and I really loved how they treated their athletes. They’re super well taken care of,” Shradar said.
She noted that the campus is surrounded by professional sports teams, which will set her up for her future career.
“It will set me up for my future, because I want to be a sports broadcaster. The athletic director gave me some really good connections so that I can possibly get an internship with one of the pro sports teams,” Shradar said.
As a member of the varsity soccer team since her freshman year, Shradar is looking forward to her final season as an eagle. She has high hopes for this year’s team.
“Our assistant coach, Jen, really holds us accountable and helps the team get better all the time,” Shradar said. “It’s the year to go to state.”
She wants to be able to help the younger players become more comfortable around everyone and be a supportive teammate on and off the field.
“We have a really great group of girls. They’re all positive and we never have any drama between us,” Shradar said. “I think I communicate well, and I can help players on the field. I’m excited to take on that leadership aspect of the game and be a role model for younger girls.”