By: Bryan Giese
For someone that didn’t play much organized soccer as a youth growing up, Nicole Hawley has sure caught up to, and in many ways passed up what would have been her competition.
“I don’t have too much personal history or experience,” says Nicole. “I fell in love with the sport my freshman year at Oshkosh North. I started training every day that following summer, cause I knew I needed to increase my skills rapidly in order to compete with the girls that had been playing nearly their whole lives.”
Nicole was named her teams Most Improved Player her sophomore year, after she dedicated most of her summer to training. After that year, Nicole decided to play club soccer instead of continuing her career at Oshkosh North. She played for Coach Doug Paul at FC Menasha Vis Major, where she was a part of the Wisconsin State Premier League Championship.
Nicole was recruited by Cardinal Stritch University. Her freshman year there she was recognized for CCAC All Conference Second Team after she netted nine goals and assisted on five more. The following season she helped the team finish 14-6, regular season champs, and an appearance in the National Tournament. Nicole scored six times in her sophomore season, with five assists.
Most recently, in her junior year at Cardinal Stritch, Nicole was recognized for CCAC All Conference First Team, as well as being nominated for the team’s Most Valuable Player. She led the team in 2017 with 14 goals and three assists.
Now Nicole is a member of the 2018 Milwaukee Torreent. “I’m unbelievably excited for this opportunity,” says Nicole. “I never thought I could make it this far, but I kept believing that if I worked hard enough, I could compete alongside these girls.”
To add to the satisfaction, Nicole will have the privilege to play at the highest level of women’s soccer in the state with her sister, Caitlin. “We bring out the best in each other. She motivates me to be the best player I can possibly be.”
Unlike her sister, Caitlin Hawley started her soccer career at age seven. She started in the recreational program through Oshkosh Youth Soccer Club, where she played for two months in the summer, practicing once a week with one weekend match.
Caitlin didn’t begin her club soccer career until she was sixteen, and after her freshman year of high school. Her coach wanted her to get involved on a club team, so she went on to play for Oshkosh United Soccer Club for one spring season. Here she competed in the U16 state league.
Oshkosh United did not have a fall season, so Caitlin decided to play for Vis Major FC which was competing in the Mid-West Regional League (MRL). After her sophomore year in high school, Catlin moved on to join Water Cities Soccer Club. At WCSC Caitlin competed in the state league and college showcase.
Caitlin played high school soccer for Oshkosh North. She played JVA her freshman year and was voted team MVP, received an award called “Most Hustle,” and led the team in goals. Caitlin made the varsity squad her sophomore year where she again led the team in goals scored, as well as earning Second Team All-Conference recognition and Oshkosh Northwestern All Area Team honors.
She finished off her high school career by leading the team in goals scored again her junior and senior years. She was also named First team All-Conference and Oshkosh Northwestern All Area Team in both these seasons. During her senior season, Caitlin signed on to Eastern Illinois University.
At the semester break of her freshman year, Caitlin transferred to Cardinal Stritch University. “I wanted to be closer to home,” states Caitlin. “And it’s really nice to be able to come back and play with my sister, Nicole.”
Not too long ago, Caitlin put to paper a poem that explains her love for the game of soccer.
“My mom didn’t realize when she put me in soccer, she gave me more than a sport.
She gave me a best friend and purpose in life.
A passion with a beautiful dream.
An escape from all the bad things in life.
A place that is forever my home.
A chance at life.
Confidence and happiness.
She gave me the world at my feet.”