(Photo courtesy of ChicagoNow.com)
Nikki Krzysik is a professional soccer player who currently captains the Philadelphia Independence of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS). Krzysik, born in Ridgewood, NJ, attended Clifton High School and was a member of the US Youth National Teams.
During her time at Clifton High, Krzysik was a two-time Parade All-American, an NSCAA New Jersey Player of the Year, and the 2005 SoccerBuzz No. 2 ranked American recruit.
In 2005, Krzysik attended the University of Virginia, as a midfielder/defender. She earned various honors as a Cavalier including MAC Herman Trophy semifinalist and (two-time) first team All-American.
In 2009, she joined the Chicago Red Stars professional soccer franchise, playing in 14 games. She was then drafted the following year, by expansion team, the Philadelphia Independence. In 2011, she was named captain of the squad.
Q: What type of teams were you on during your high school years -- club, regional, high school? Were you attending camps, or college showcases/tournaments with your teams?
A: In high school I was on my club team, my high school team, and playing for State, Regional, and National ODP teams. I also played in a lot of college showcases as well as attended many college camps. I tried to get my name out to college programs the best way that I could...which I believed was playing as much as I could.
Q: While in high school, what was your thought process about furthering your career in soccer and playing collegiately? How did you ultimately wind up choosing University of Virginia?
A: I always knew that I wanted to play in college and I wanted to play at a highly competitive program because I also had aspirations of playing after college. Even though I wanted to play as long as I could, my parents helped me put my collegiate career in perspective. My parent's advice was that if soccer was going to allow you to get into a top program, that I should go to a college where the degree is going to take me far beyond my athletic career.
Q: How many schools did you officially "visit"? What were some of the other schools you were closely considering?
A: I officially visited 5 schools and they were Arizona State, Duke, Virginia, the University of North Carolina, and Penn State.
Q: What were the most important qualities of a school and athletic program that you were looking for?
A: I wanted to find a school that had a top program but also had high academic standards. I found that in Virginia.
Q: When did you start getting interest from coaches? Were you sending out letters and highlight reels?
A: The recruiting process in women's soccer has changed quite a bit since I went through it, but I started getting general letters my sophomore year and then started taking unofficial visits and talking to coaches my junior year.
Q: What role did your club coaches/high school coaches have in helping you get recruited? How active were your parents in the process?
A: Both my club and high schools coaches helped me throughout the whole process. They were able to help me get my name out into the soccer world by going to showcases and other tournaments. My parents also helped by looking over emails and being involved in conversations with interested coaches.
Q: What tips do you have for a high school student today who wants to play soccer in college?
A: I think that it is really important to learn how to balance school work and athletics during high school so that when you get to college you have an idea. The competition is a lot more intense, both in and out of the classroom.
Q: To date, what do you consider the biggest accomplishment of your soccer career?
A: This question is always tough to answer, but I think that being able to play professionally has been the greatest accomplishment because it is a goal that I have strived for my whole life.