North Texas ties draws Missouri soccer freshmen together

Four Missouri players hail from the Lone Star state.
Ashley Lane / Graphic Designer

It goes without saying the transition from high school to college is a difficult one for any freshman. For Danielle Nottingham, the move was especially hard.

A starting freshman midfielder for the Missouri soccer team, Nottingham is living more than 500 miles from her hometown in north Texas. Although the distance was a daunting one to handle at first, Nottingham said her transition was helped by the presence of junior Kelsey Blincow, a former classmate of Nottingham’s.

“I knew she was up here, and I originally looked into the school because I knew someone (from my school) was up here,” Nottingham said. “I had a lot of options and could look wherever, but it was nice knowing someone else up here also.”

Two other freshman Tigers, Alyssa Diggs and McKenzie Sauerwein, are also from north Texas. Coach Bryan Blitz said it’s no coincidence the area produced three impressive freshmen recruits.

“The Dallas area is one of the top areas in the country,” Blitz said. “It’s a Big 12 area. I think you see it with basketball, with football and with a lot of other groups. I’m a Dallas product myself, and I’ve seen a lot of the talent firsthand.”

Sauerwein and Nottingham share more than just a home state. The two were club soccer teammates on the Dallas Sting ’92 throughout high school. Both had committed to MU by their junior years, and Blitz said the two were hard to miss during recruiting.

“They were recruited independently, and obviously I saw their team play,” Blitz said. “Of course, Danielle stood out immediately with her play and her drive to compete and score goals and to attack. And McKenzie is a great athlete with great courage, and you have to have that as a goaltender.”

Blitz said even though each came to the decision to play at MU separately, he wouldn’t be surprised if the two talked together about their college-playing futures.

“I’m sure that they talked and Facebooked and all that kind of stuff,” Blitz said. “They were teammates, but you know, it’s different at college when you’re sleeping in the same dorm and all that kind of stuff.”

Nottingham and Sauerwein are now suitemates, along with fellow North Texas native Diggs. Blincow said the similar backgrounds helped the freshmen get acclimated to the team.

“They got along pretty well once they got here, especially since the freshmen are together most of the time,” Blincow said. “But I like to think that I helped them out a little bit, just because it was a familiar face for them.”

As far as future north Texas players coming to play for Missouri, Blitz said the area is never short on talent. Blincow agreed and said the four north Texans on the team are fortunate to have had so many opportunities to gain experience back home.

“I think we were just lucky, because Dallas especially is a huge soccer center,” Blincow said. “So there are a lot of good club teams, good high school teams, and there’s lots of competition. So it’s just a good place for coaches all over the country to come and recruit good players out of.”

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