Gopher Senior Spotlight: MacKenzie Misel

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Name: MacKenzie Misel

Number: 23

Position: Center Back

Year: Senior

Major: Elementary Education

Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa

What about Minnesota made you decide that you wanted to be a Gopher?: After visiting Minneapolis I fell in love with the campus and the city. I wanted to be apart of the Minnesota soccer family because I knew it was something very special and a great place. The Friday night games under the lights are something I always dreamed about and quickly became one of my favorite things and the perfect atmosphere to become the best soccer player I could be.

You've been a part of this team for a while now... What is special/different about this team?: My time here at the program has been special in the fact that I have played for two different head coaches for two years each. Being older and looking at my team now I see a lot of positive energy with competitiveness thats formed us into a team that better understands one another as teammates and friends.

What does Gopher Soccer mean to you?: It means I am proud to be a member of the Gopher program because of all the amazing players that have been here before me. I know what those girls had to do to get our team and program to become an elite program with high standards. Gopher soccer has a legacy of greatness and its a truly special feeling that only the players can feel because we do it for one another.

What does being captain mean to you and how has it changed your responsibility to the team?: It is an honor to be a Captain for the Gophers. It is a role that takes a lot of commitment and loyalty to our program as well as our culture of the team. I have done a lot of reflecting back to when I was a younger player, and trying to share with the freshmen their roles and help them adjust to the next level. It is a big adjustment stepping into the college game and I want all my teammates to feel like family and be successful together.

When did you first start playing soccer?: I started playing soccer when I was six years old. I actually really did not want to go to my first practice ever. I refused to get dressed in my soccer gear. My dad still made me go -- wearing a pink dress. Lets just say, that has never happened again!

What is your favorite soccer memory?: In 2010 when we qualified for the sweet sixteen when we beat Texas A&M in the Minnesota winter!

What is something you've done in the past year that you are the most proud of... on or off the field?: In the classroom would be making the Dean's list and more importantly helping with many different organizations like, HopeKids, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and volunteering in classrooms. Also helping take the lead as a board member in student groups through the athletic department like, Gopher Global and S.A.A.C. (Student Athlete Advisory Committee)

What is your favorite local Minneapolis restaurant and what do you order when you are there?: I have a couple, Tony's Diner/Key's Cafe/Al's Breakfast all for their pancakes - I love pancakes and they all have their own specialties.

How do you prepare/get pumped up for a game?: I always do my nails for the game. Pink is definitely my favorite choice. Other than that I keep it simple. I really do enjoy dancing before the game, however that takes more energy than I would like to use before a game so I like to relax.

If you could spend one day with a professional soccer player, who would it be and why?: Christiano Ronaldo because he has been my favorite player ever since I was younger and is one of the best, if not the best player in the world.

If you could give any advice to the younger players on the team, what would it be?: It is important to stay positive and have the right amount of self confidence that helps you succeed on the field but keeps your striving for more. Also, you are never alone - during these 4 years of college there are so many people that want to help you be the best person you can be. Invest in those people and show them you care.

What is your "walkout" song and why?: My song is "Return of the Mac" My freshman year I used the original by Mark Morrison and than Snoop Dog made a remix - which was more like today's pop music. I like it because it has my name in it.

What do you think your biggest strength on and off the field?: Off the field I try to be a role model to my fellow teammates. How to make smart decisions and have fun. How to prioritize your life but still give back to others. On the field I will do whatever it takes to make the team successful and be a consistent player in each game.

What is your biggest goal for the season?: I would love to see our team get back into the NCAA tournament along with a B1G championship!

How has playing soccer at Minnesota influenced the way you feel about the game?: It has just showed me how much I really love the game. It has influenced me to continue coaching and sharing my love and passion for the game to help younger players succeed.

What is your favorite non-athletic building on campus and why?: I am going to have to say in Dinkytown - Chilly Billy's the frozen yogurt place :)

Who is your biggest role model and why?: My parents have been my biggest role models because the two of them have taught me my morals and values in life and that is what has made me successful while at college.

What is next after college?: I will be continuing into my masters program following this year with student-teaching. After that... looking for a teaching job and continuing to coach the game of soccer to younger players.

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