by Bob San
Osseo-Maple Grove Sports
The last thing Osseo High senior soccer captain Emily Peterson expected when the 2013 season ended was that she would earn any all-state honors. Peterson and her Osseo Orioles endured a difficult season and she didn’t think all-state honors would be bestowed upon players on a team with only one win.
But surprisingly, Peterson received all-state honorable mention as a defender and was invited to play in the All-Star Game at the Metrodome at the end of the season.
“When I got the letter I was super shocked,” said Peterson. “And when I was at the all-state banquet and got the letter to play in the All-Star Game, that was even cooler because I got to play in the Metrodome. I’ve always dreamed about playing at the Metrodome as a team but it just happened to be that I was all-state. That was really cool.”
Peterson still got excited talking about the feeling she had when she walked on to the Metrodome field, taking pictures, savoring the moment of being part of one of the last soccer games to be played at the Dome and imagining what it’s like to be playing in front of millions of fans.
“And seeing my parents up in the stands was awesome,” she said.
To top it off, Peterson was named her team’s Player of the Game.
Winning individual awards was nothing new for the 5-2 bundle of energy who patrolled midfield and defense for the Orioles for the past four seasons. Peterson was Rookie of the Year, a two-time all-conference and Team MVP and Defensive MVP and a two-year captain for Osseo. She broke into the varsity lineup in ninth grade and played on two strong Osseo teams. But in the past two seasons, the Orioles managed just three wins. Peterson admitted that it was hard being a strong player on a losing team, but she embraced her role as the captain.
“There are a lot of girls with talent but it’s just the way the coach put us together that I don’t think necessarily put us at our strengths,” Peterson said. “It was frustrating at times but I tried to focus on the teamwork aspect of it and being the captain I focused on trying to help the girls along with everything. So for me it wasn’t as important being a good player on a bad team, but I was helping girls who were not as talented improve their games.”
Asked if she ever thought about transferring to a winning program, Peterson said: “There are people who go to different schools to play sports but that’s not me. I bleed orange and black. I went to Elm Creek Elementary, Osseo Junior and now Osseo Senior. So it never crossed my mind.”
“Emily is a savvy player with great field vision, a dedicated student who excels in her classes, and a kind-hearted individual,” said incoming Osseo coach Traci Ohlenkamp, who coached Peterson for three years. “She embodies the Osseo spirit.”
Peterson added that the losing did not prevent the Orioles from having a good time.
“There was a lot of fun on the team,” she said. “It does not matter whether we won or lost. We had really good chemistry on the team. We all liked each other and got along. The score on the board does not always tell. We had fun together.”
There was one shining moment that Peterson and her teammates will remember forever in her junior season. It came in a section quarterfinal when the Orioles went against arch rival Maple Grove. The Crimson were the conference champions, seeded first and ranked high in the state and the Orioles were seeded eighth and had one win. But the Orioles shocked Maple Grove 3-2 in overtime and Peterson assisted on the winning goal by Aimee Dahl. Afterwards, the Orioles piled onto each other and celebrated like they had won the state championship.
“That was pretty sweet. A lot of girls said that was their highlight,” Peterson said. “It was pretty memorable.”
While winning moments were few for Peterson in high school, she had plenty of success playing club soccer. She played with the Maplebrook Soccer Association teams for four years before joining the Plymouth Soccer Association premier team in 2010. Playing up one year in age, Peterson was a member of the PSA team that won the state championship and the Schwan’s USA Cup.
“It’s fun to play with girls at a high level. That helps me improve,” Peterson said.
Playing on premier teams also exposed Peterson to college coaches.
“My summer teams in the past few years have gone to a ton of college showcase tournaments. There was one in Las Vegas last year, a big one in Colorado and one in Iowa,” Peterson said. “It was all about getting out and showing yourself in front of the college coaches and making sure you are seen by them.”
Peterson received many recruitment letters from Div. II and III schools and went through the college recruitment process of sending emails and resume to coaches. She wants to major in physical therapy and play soccer so that has helped her choose a Div. III college.
Peterson, who devotes lots of time to community service activities and will captain the golf team this spring, is sad that her time at Osseo High is just about over but she is looking forward to a new chapter in her life.
“I am super excited for my college experience,” Peterson said.