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University of Maine Women’s Soccer Squad - Nikki Misener

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Success Beyond the Soccer Field
Womens_soccer_largeNikki Misener: Team comes first

For University of Maine senior women’s soccer player Nikki Misener the team always came first.

And the team did very well, thank you.

This fall, the Black Bears advanced to the semifinal round of the America East Championship for the second consecutive season. In the contest, Stony Brook edged UMaine on penalty kicks after the teams were knotted 1–1 after two overtimes.

The Black Bears finished 9–5–5.

“The thing that I really appreciate about Nikki is that above all else, what mattered most to her was being a good teammate,” says coach Scott Atherley.

“She was not hung up on statistics, playing time or being a starter. Nikki simply wanted to see her team and teammates succeed. Whether she was scoring goals for us, or watching from the bench, she genuinely held the team in highest regard. On the field, she is fiercely competitive. Off of it, she is as kind-hearted as anyone you will ever meet.”

Misener, of Burlington, Ontario, is a double major in elementary education and French. She played striker for the Black Bears and in 68 games notched eight goals and 11 assists. Misener was named to the America East Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll and is a Maine Scholar-Athlete Award winner.

All five seniors on the University of Maine women’s soccer team attained considerable success in the classroom and on the field in 2013. The scholar-athletes have a combined grade-point average of 3.73 and led the squad to the America East semifinal round.

“The success of our senior class extends far beyond the soccer field,” says Scott Atherley, UMaine women’s soccer coach. “Individually and collectively, they personify the true meaning of student-athlete. The attributes that make them successful on the field are the same ones that have enabled them to excel in the classroom and vice versa. They are all bright, ambitious, disciplined, committed and industrious.

“For the better part of four years, they have served as the standard of excellence that has become synonymous with our program, on and off of the field,” says the 15-year coach. “The qualities that they possess as student-athletes are rivaled only by the richness of their character. You would be hard-pressed to find a better group of human beings. We will miss them dearly, but forever remember the significance of their contributions.”

Three of the four years the seniors competed, the squad made it at least as far as the semifinal round of the league playoffs. A year ago, Stony Brook also knocked the Black Bears out of contention, topping them 2–1 in an AE semifinal. In 2010, when the Black Bears were first-year players, Boston University bested them 4–0 for the league crown

Misener shares her experience about what it’s been like to be a member of the UMaine women’s soccer team and university community.

Age: 21
Hometown: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Course(s) of undergraduate study: Elementary education and French
GPA: 3.5
Soccer Position(s): Striker

When and why did you begin playing soccer?
I started playing when I was 4 on my older sister’s team that my dad coached. I started playing because it looked fun and my dad coached us.

Do you have role models?
My parents, by far, are the biggest role models in my life. I love them dearly and if I am half of the people they are, I will be happy.

What are your hobbies and interests?
I like sports in general and now that I’ve graduated from the Maine WSOC program I look forward to playing lots of intramural sports.

Why did you choose UMaine?
I chose it because the girls on the team seemed like a group I wanted to be a part of and I just loved the feel of the campus.

How do you balance academics, sports and other activities?
With lots of naps.

Has playing a sport shaped your study habits?
My GPA is around 3.5 and has been around there more or less since I’ve been here. I’ve always played sports during school and that’s how I learned to time-manage everything, from habit. I guess I just find it easy now.

What are some favorite soccer moments?
There are too many to count really and my memory isn’t the greatest but the best one for me would have to be going swimming in our Spandex and sports bras in South Carolina a couple years ago because we hadn’t planned on going to the beach and no one packed bathing suits!

What was it like to play for the AE title and host a semifinal?
The AE final in my freshman year was definitely exciting but I guess looking back I didn’t realize how amazing it was. I wish I had realized it then. Semifinals are important too but the one we hosted last year was the coolest experience because all your fans are there and the game is on your turf, which makes it all the more energized.

What’s your favorite part of being a student-athlete at UMaine?
The people are the best part. I’ve been lucky to have so many great experiences and meet so many new people through traveling and being associated with the soccer team.

How has playing soccer impacted you as a person?
Soccer has always been a part of my life and it always will be. I’m very sad that this was my last season but it’s a start of a new chapter for me and although it’s exciting, it’s also bittersweet. It has taught me many things, but one of the most important is working together to accomplish a common goal. Communication is so important between people because it can change the way people think or feel about a situation. I would say if there’s one thing I appreciate the most, it would be the fact that soccer taught me how to get along and communicate with people.

Why has this senior group had such success on and off the field?
This group is crazy! We have success because we are passionate people on the field and in the classroom. When you have passion for something success will follow.

What advice would you give a student-athlete considering UMaine?
I would tell them this is the place to come as long as you don’t mind a little snow. And I’m from Canada, so that’s saying a lot.

How did you choose your majors and career path?
I have taken French immersion throughout my entire education and it’s just so fascinating being able to communicate in two languages. It really opens up doors for you regarding travel, jobs and meeting new people. I wanted to continue it in university because I think learning a second language is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for others. I picked elementary education because after I graduate I want to be a teacher. I love learning and being in school and I want to share my passions with others and inspire others to love learning like I do. I’m doing a placement in a local school to do some observations and I am just loving it. I’m really looking forward to my student teaching next semester.

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