Peninsula Co-op Highlanders’ Krauetner rapidly climbing women’s soccer ladder

Katie Krauetner can probably recite the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers fight song, Hail Varsity, by heart. But the Parkland Secondary graduate, who is in the Canadian women’s selection pool for the 2014 FIFA U-20 World Cup, is an Island soccer player through and through.

Krauetner will play for the Peninsula Co-op Highlanders for the fourth consecutive season this summer after scoring five goals and adding four assists in 24 games as a sophomore for the Big Ten-champion Cornhuskers.

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The striker has started all 44 games over two seasons in her collegiate career, which this year ended with a loss to Boston College in the second round of the 2014 NCAA tournament.

“I love it. The support is definitely there for college sports [in the U.S.],” said Krauetner, a nutrition and health sciences major.

“Football especially is huge. The Cornhuskers have sold out their games for more than 50 years.”

She will now continue her soccer year when the Highlanders open the Pacific Coast League season on the road May 25 against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The first home game is May 31 at Hampton Park against the Mid-Island Highlanders.

“The philosophy that [Peninsula Co-op Highlanders head coach and former national team mentor] Dave Dew has is similar to what I’m trying to accomplish personally,” said Krauetner.

The feeling is mutual.

“It’s great to have a player of her calibre back with the club,” Dew said, in a statement.

“[Krauetner] has gained experience from playing in Nebraska and her time with the U-20 national team. She has been able to go to these other clubs and gain this experience and now comes back with it all, which will be a benefit to this team [Highlanders]. Her experience will help the younger players.”

Krauetner does well in the classroom, too, and was an Academic All-Big Ten selection in 2013 and named to the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll for both 2012 and 2013. That’s a crucial fall-back for later in life. The priority right now, however, is soccer.

“I want to play as long as a can, and go pro,” said Krauetner.

“The options in the women’s game are definitely growing.”

In North America, that is due in no small part to the success experienced by the American and Canadian Olympic teams.

Krauetner and fellow Victoria player Emma Fletcher have both been invited to the Canadian camps for the 2014 FIFA U-20 World Cup, to be hosted by Canada this summer.

“I’m taking it one camp at a time,” said Krauetner.

“It’s an honour just to be invited to the national team camp.”

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

Twitter.com/tc_vicsports

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