Red Star Nikki Krysik: Living The Dream

John HowellAnalyst IJune 30, 2009

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 24:  Nikki Krzysik (L) and Carli Lloyd unveil the Chicago Red Stripes team uniforms during a fashion show to unveil the new uniforms for the Women's Professional Soccer League February 24, 2009 in New York City, New York.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Nikki Krysik (pictured above on left) is living a dream.

From as far back as she can remember, she wanted to play soccer at its highest level. When the WUSA launched, she knew she wanted to play professionally. As one of the Chicago Red Stars key defenders, she is living the future she imagined for herself.

Krysik was selected by Chicago in the second round of the WPS general draft, 13th overall. She has started a majority of Red Stars games to date, and has played in nearly all of them.

Prior to coming to Chicago she distinguished herself as a leader on the US National U23, U21, U20, U19, U17 and U16 teams. In those assignments Krysik was part of U19 and U20 World Championships in 2004 and 2006. She also played a key role in the U20 qualifying tournament in 2006.

Krysik also played in the W-League. In 2008, she started six games with the Richmond Kickers, recorded an assist, and as a defender, contributed to three shutouts. In 2007, she started 10 games with Jersey Sky Blue, helping them advance to the Eastern Conference semi-finals. In 2004, she played for the Jersey Lady Stallions.

At the University of Virginia, Krysik was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, as a senior in 2008, and was a semi-finalist for the Hermann Trophy.

In her senior year at Virginia, Krysik played every minute to anchor a Cavalier defense that posted nine shutouts and allowed just 5.1 shots per game. She also added three goals and three assists offensively.

As a Cavalier, Krysik was named All-ACC first team twice, in 2007 and 2008. As a junior she started on a 2007 defensive unit that led the nation in GAA (0.40) and set a school record with 15 shutouts. She scored the game-winning goal in 1-0 win over William & Mary in the 2007 NCAA Tournament second round with 14 seconds to play in regulation.

Hailing from Clifton, NJ, where Nikki attended Clifton High School, she was named the 2004 NSCAA Athlete of the Year. She was a two-time Parade magazine All-American, and holds school records at Clifton for most goals in a season (21) and in a career (55).

When asked who was the greatest soccer influence in her life, Krysik replied, "This a tough question because so many people have influenced me throughout my soccer career.  From my parents to coaches and friends it would not be fair to pinpoint one particular person because truly I have been blessed to be surrounded by great individuals."

When asked what her greatest soccer accomplishment has been thus far, Nikki said, "I would have to say going pro would be on the top of my list but I was also given the opportunity to play with the Colorado Rush for a U-19 national championship. Even though I have had many milestones throughout my career so far, the feeling of winning a championship is something that one cannot describe.  Every player works day in and day out to become a champion of some sort and achieving that at the youth level will be something that I will always cherish."

When she's no longer able to play, Krysik would like to coach.

"I love soccer and I feel that this sport has given me a lot and I want to give back to the sport."

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