Huck Signs Letter of Intent with MSUM Soccer
Senior Olivia Huck signed her letter of intent to play soccer at Minnesota State University Moorhead Wednesday, November 10 at Crookston High School.
Olivia, who was an All-State nominee this season, said she loves everything about soccer, which is why she wants to continue her career.
“I’ve always loved soccer,” Olivia said. “I stayed in it because I love the game, I love my teammates and I love playing, honestly.”
To get to this point in her career, though, took a lot of skill, time and dedication.
“A Pack of Children Running After a Ball” to One of the Boys
Olivia began playing soccer thanks to fellow senior Clara Meyer, who asked Olivia to join the soccer team she was on.
"We were in Kindergarten and so excited to kick a ball around, even if we weren’t doing it right,” Meyer said.
The girls played together in the Crookston Youth Soccer Association, a soccer organization for kids K-6 grade.
When Olivia first started playing, her parents, Phil and Vicki, knew nothing about the sport and were learning along with their daughter.
Even though the games were basic and slow compared to what he’s used to now, Phil looks back on those games and still gets excited about them.
“I loved watching her games,” Phil said. “From the toddler games, when they were little kids. It was a pack of children running after the ball, and there was some other kid, the goalie, barking in the net on all fours. Those games were fun, too.”
Olivia grew quickly in just a few years. When she was in fifth and sixth grade, she and Meyer played on a U13/14 team with kids a couple years older than them.
In seventh grade, Olivia played junior varsity soccer. She even played in a couple of varsity games, but the real transition came in the summer.
Olivia and Meyer continued to play on more advanced teams, including a U16/17 boys’ team. The girls had to adapt, as the boys played differently than the girls.
“It was me and Clara and a bunch of boys,” Olivia said. “We were playing travel in soccer against like big, guy teams. I think that’s where we learned our competitiveness and how to push ourselves a little more because we had to be better.”
Playing up prepared Olivia for what was to come next.
Growing and Becoming a Leader
The next school season Olivia started a couple of varsity games, while playing in many of them. By the time she was a freshman, Olivia was starting every game and almost never left the field.
With each year on varsity, Olivia got smarter by asking questions, a trait head coach Sarah Reese said she doesn’t see in many players.
“She [Olivia] is the kind of player who wants to continue learning and working on technical aspects of her play and apply what she learned in games,” Reese said. “Not every athlete wants to talk systems and formation and to understand why, but Olivia does.”
Junior and senior year, specifically, Huck became a leader on the field. This year, she and Meyer won the overall team MVP award, while Olivia alone won Team Spirit.
“Olivia is a great lead on and off the field,” Meyer said. “She’s always there to talk if someone needs it. On the field, Olivia has great vision of what needs to be done and who is open for a pass.”
Getting Serious: Club Soccer and Recruitment
At the end of her junior year, Olivia knew she wanted to take her game to the next level, so she travelled to Fargo during the winter to play club soccer for Tri-City United.
It was at that point that Phil and Vicki knew Olivia was serious about the sport and could play at the next level.
“When she said she wanted to play club soccer last winter after the regular season was over, we’re like ‘okay, she’s serious about this,’” Vicki said. “She was going to Fargo three or four nights a week during the school year and coming home at midnight and getting up the next day and going to school.”
That off-season, Olivia also got her recruiting process by going to assistant coach Anna Brekken for advice.
Brekken, who played goalie for UMC from 2007 to 2010, said she saw a bit of Olivia in herself.
“Based off of the initiative she took, I knew it wasn’t just a maybe idea or a hopeful dream but something she planned on making a reality,” Brekken said. “What I saw in her was a similar feeling I remember having at that age, which was ‘This can’t be it. I can’t only have one more season left of soccer. I’m not ready to be done.’”
Olivia emailed various coaches from Winona, Saint Mary’s, Concordia and St. Scholastica, but Moorhead had always been at the top of her list.
Both Phil and Vicki went to Moorhead when they were in college. In fact, Vicki’s mother and Phil’s father took classes there, too.
“We definitely encouraged her not to discount it,” Vicki said. “It’s a good school. Don’t say, ‘oh my mom and dad went there, I don’t want to go there.’ When she went and checked it, she was like, ‘oh yeah, this is it.’ I was like ‘yes!’”
The area is also familiar to Olivia, too, as her aunts, uncles, and grandparents live across the border in Fargo.
Olivia’s campus tour and camp experience solidified Moorhead as her number one choice.
“Christie [Kopeitz] was just a huge influence in my decision, honestly,” Olivia said. “I went to the summer ID camp for MSUM, and I think that was it. The seniors led us through their stretches, and we did their warm-ups. We got to see the locker room. It was awesome. That day I was like, ‘I hope she wants me.’”
Looking To the Future
Olivia will attend MSUM in the fall with an undeclared major. She joins the soccer team as one of nine recruits.
Dragons head coach Christie Kopeitz told Tom Berg, assistant athletic director of media relations at MUSM, that Olivia will make an impact on the team.
“Olivia is a scrappy defender who will bring fight and passion to our defending group,” Kopeitz said.
At the college level, all the players will be as talented as Olivia, but Brekken has no doubt Olivia will continue to succeed in the years to come.
“She truly has to want it,” Brekken said. “I know she does. When she continues that passion we’ve seen her have in high school, see will flourish at the next level.”