Golden Gopher goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs will participate in the U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team training camp at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. from Nov. 24-Dec. 1. Hobbs is one of two goalkeepers invited to participate in the camp that will serve as training for the mid-December event as well as the CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands in January. Hobbs will journal her experiences as she participates in the weeklong camp. 

Day 1: Sunday Nov. 24, 2013

It started off waking up pretty early this morning. Right when I woke up the nerves kicked in for the week to come. My parents drove me to the airport and my mom started crying which was sad but she only wants the best for me. The flight was about three hours; it took a little longer to de-ice the plane. Minnesota problems. But the plane was huge! I slept most of the way and the flight attendants were very excited when I told them I was going to this camp. 

Everyone thinks I have a weird accent, and they don't believe me when I said we had snow in May or that in the spring 30 degrees is shorts weather... 

Training today was pretty light, but it's a start to a long week. It's exciting and nerve racking to be here since it seems like everyone knows each other. But I have met a lot of new people in a short amount of time. The coaches have had good things to say so far, hopefully the nerves will settle down for tomorrow. 

Today will be a learning curve for the rest of the week. I'm trying to move on from mistakes quicker and that will definitely need to be a focus to get through this week! It's a long road ahead full of new opportunities and experiences. I can't wait to see what this week brings. 


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.
Name: Steph Brandt
Number: 13
Position: Forward
Year: Senior
Major: Biology
Hometown: Rochester, MN

What about Minnesota made you decide that you wanted to be a Gopher?: 
Growing up in Minnesota, the idea of playing soccer and representing my home state was exciting for me. On top of that, I knew I would be joining an amazing soccer family, and getting my degree from an outstanding university. Everything felt right, and it was obvious to me that I was meant to be a Gopher. 

What is special/different about this team?: 
This team is special because we have a great mix of personalities and talents that allow us to get along with each other both on and off the field. 

What does Gopher Soccer mean to you?: 
For me, Gopher Soccer provides an arena within which young women can grow both as players and as people. During my time with this incredible program, I have been able to improve my soccer skills, and also develop many personal qualities through the triumphs and failures that we have faced together.

When did you first start playing soccer?: 
I started playing soccer when I was in kindergarten. 

What is your favorite soccer memory?: 
My favorite soccer memory was in the NCAA tournament when we played with huge piles of snow all around our field.

What is your favorite local Minneapolis restaurant and what do you order when you are there?: 
My favorite local restaurant is Chilly Billy's. I always get a couple different flavors of frozen yogurt, and a bunch of toppings because it's too hard to choose.

If you could give any advice to incoming students at the "U", what would it be?: 
I would tell them to take advantage of all the cool activities this school and city have to offer. There is a time to study and a time to have fun, and it is the combination of those that make college such a worthwhile experience.

What do you think your biggest strength on and off the field?: 
On the field, my biggest strength is finding different ways to make our offense dangerous, and off the field my biggest strength is making things more efficient and problem solving.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?:
In 5 years, I hope to be in a thriving career as a Physician Assistant.

What is your biggest goal for the season?: 
My biggest goal for the season is for us to get into the NCAA tournament. It is so much fun to compete on a big stage, and I know this is a team that can get there.

What is your favorite non-athletic building on campus and why?: 
My favorite non-athletic building is Folwell Hall because it has 28 chimneys and 0 fireplaces, and I took a Spanish course there that I really enjoyed.

Who is your biggest role model and why?: 
One of my biggest role models is Adrian Peterson, because he was able to overcome the adversity of injury, and come back to have one of the best seasons of his life.

Name: Lauren Bauer
Number: 22
Position: Defender
Year: Senior
Major: Kinesiology (Clinical Movement)
Hometown: Eagan, MN

What about Minnesota made you decide that you wanted to be a Gopher?:
I knew I wanted to stay in the Mid-West and the University of Minnesota campus has so much to offer. I enjoy the "college" aspect of Dinkytown and I love how close we are to Downtown Minneapolis. Also, Minnesota provides me with an excellent education and the research opportunities are endless.

What is special/different about this team?:
What is special about this team is that we are a young team who fights through adversity. We have a lot of individuals (starters and non-starters) who contribute to the teams success. I have confidence in every one of my teammates that when they step on the field, they will get the job done.

What does Gopher Soccer mean to you?:
Gopher Soccer allows me to be apart of something bigger than myself. I think of the team as my second family. Gopher soccer means laying everything out on the line for my teammates throughout every practice and game. Minnesota soccer means having pride in the team I represent and knowing that every teammate is playing for one another.

When did you first start playing soccer?:
I first started playing soccer at the age of five. Because I am young for my grade, my best friend started playing before I could, and would tease me about how she was playing soccer and how I couldn't.

What is your favorite soccer memory?:
My favorite soccer memory is with my club team when we won regionals and went on to compete at nationals. It was my last year playing with my club team, so I guess you could say we went out with a bang!

What is something you've done in the past year that you are the most proud of... on or off the field?:
Something that I had the opportunity to be a part of last summer was the Muscular Dystrophy (MDA) Summer Camp. I was a camp volunteer for a week. Each camp volunteer is paired with one child for the week. This camp allows children with various types of muscular dystrophy to attend summer camp like any other healthy child would at no cost to their families. The camp modifies different activities so that every child at camp, no matter their disability, is able to participate. Activities include: fishing, swimming, archery, horseback riding, and adaptive sports.

What is your favorite local Minneapolis restaurant and what do you order when you are there?:
My favorite local Minneapolis restaurant is Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown. When I go I order one blueberry pancake and one egg benedict. 

How do you prepare/get pumped up for a game?:
To get pumped up for a game I listen to music while dancing and goofing around with teammates. To prepare for games I put both socks on, then my cleats, then my shin guards (Right then left for each).

If you could spend one day with a professional soccer player, who would it be and why?:
I would spend my day with Cristiano Ronaldo because he is easy on the eyes!

If you could give any advice to incoming students at the "U" what would it be?:
Advice that I would give incoming students is to get involved. You can get involved in anything from academic clubs to intramural sports. Becoming involved in your school not only allows you to meet new people and friends but also gives you something to put on a resume.

What is your "walkout" song and why?:
My walk out song is Bow Wow (What's My Name) by Lil Bow Wow. My last name is Bauer and my nickname is Bau.. "Bow" in Bow Wow is said like Bauer.

What do you think your biggest strength on and off the field?:
My biggest strength on the field is my physical presence and my ability win balls out of the air. My biggest strength off the field is my motivation and drive I have toward my studies.

What is an interesting fact that not many people know about you?:
An interesting fact about me is that I have never had a cavity. I'm squeaky clean!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?: 
In five years, I see myself graduating from Physical Therapy School and starting my career as a Physical Therapist.

What is your biggest goal for the season?: 
My biggest goal of the season is to make it to the NCAA Tournament because the past two years we have fallen short of our goal.

How has playing soccer at Minnesota influenced the way you feel about the game?:
Playing soccer at Minnesota has really made me appreciate all the hard work and dedication I have put in to get to this point. This experience has made me realize that I have to make the best of my experience because nothing lasts forever.

What is your favorite non-athletic building on campus and why?: 
My favorite non-athletic building on campus is Folwell Hall. I enjoy this building because of its amazing architecture and intricate detail. Personally, this building is my favorite place to study because it is close to home and is open late.

Who is your biggest role model and why?:
My biggest role models are my parents because they have shaped me into the person I am today. They have taught me important qualities including hard work, dedication, and compassion. I love you mom and dad!





Go Gophers! Pafko
Go Gophers!
Get to know freshman Ashley Pafko
Go Gophers!
Name: Ashley Pafko
Number: 18
Position: Forward / Defense
Year: Freshman
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Blaine, MN

What about Minnesota made you decide that you wanted to be a Gopher?:
I choose Minnesota because it was always my dream to play soccer for my home state. The University of Minnesota is a place that I feel will prepare me for success on and off the field. Along with a great soccer program, they have an excellent computer science program. I also want to help bring a championship to the university.

What is special/different about this team?:
Whenever this team is together, it is always a fun atmosphere. The coaching staff and players are great. We are all very competitive with each other in practice and games, pushing ourselves to become better soccer players each and every day. I have already developed long lasting friendships with my teammates. Along with an amazing group of girls, this team has an outstanding coaching staff. They always make sure everyone is giving 100% effort, but at the same time, they make it enjoyable and fun for us as players.

What does Gopher Soccer mean to you?:
To me, Gopher soccer means the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back of the jersey. 

When did you first start playing soccer?:
I started playing soccer when I was three years old and ever since then, I have grown to love the game.

What is your favorite soccer memory?:
My favorite soccer memory was my first game as a Gopher soccer player. It was and still is such an honor to play for the state of Minnesota and a thrill to play in front of the large crowd that supports Gopher soccer. The best part was in the first few minutes of the game when I scored my first goal of the season.

What is something you've done in the past year that you are the most proud of... on or off the field?:
Something that I've done in the past year that I am most proud of was when I scored the game-winning goal against LSU.

What is your favorite local Minneapolis restaurant and what do you order when you are there?:
My favorite local Minneapolis restaurant would definitely have to be Punch Pizza. I either get the Toscano Pizza or the Margarita Pizza.

How do you prepare/get pumped up for a game?:
Just being with the team in the locker room before games gets me pumped up. We always have music playing and everyone is either dancing or just getting mentally prepared for the game.

If you could spend one day with a professional soccer player, who would it be and why?:
If I could spend the day with a professional soccer player, it would definitely be Mia Hamm. I would chose Mia because not only is she an amazing soccer player, but she was on the USA Women's World Cup team when they won the FIFA World Cup in 2000 that made a huge impact on women's soccer.

What is your "walkout" song and why?:
My walkout song is Trippy by Antiserum & Mayhem because I love the beat and it always gets me pumped up.

What do you think your biggest strength on and off the field?:
My biggest strength on and off the field is my hard work and having the will to succeed. 

What is an interesting fact that not many people know about you?:
My great uncle, Andy Pafko, played professional baseball for the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Braves, and Brooklyn Dodgers.

What is your biggest goal for the season?: 
My biggest goal for the season is to make it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament.

How has playing soccer at Minnesota influenced the way you feel about the game?:
Playing soccer for the Gophers has made me more passionate about the game because this is a highest level of soccer I have ever played and being on this highly competitive team is making be a better player every day.

What is your favorite non-athletic building on campus and why?: 
My favorite non-athletic building on campus is Walter Hall because the design of the building is so neat and the Library inside looks like its from Harry Potter.

Who is your biggest role model and why?:
My biggest role model is my older brother, Matthew, who passed away from brain and spine cancer. He never complained once about the pain he was in, inspiring me to always do my best in anything I do and to never give up.
Check out what the fans were saying after the Minnesota Golden Gophers upset the No. 13 Michigan Wolverines on Sunday afternoon! 


Sophomore forward, Allie Reinke, is a dynamic player and a talented graphic design student who is making a difference for the Gophers on and off the field. Here's your chance to get to a know a little about Reinke including her goals for the season, her favorite non-athletic building on campus and her "walk out" song!



Reinke Allie 01-11.jpg

Name: Allie Reinke

Number: 21

Position: Forward

Year: Sophomore

Major: Graphic Design

Hometown: Stillwater, Minn.


What about Minnesota made you decide that you wanted to be a Gopher?:

I grew up watching this team, coming to games with my club team and wishing that one day I could play for them too. I love being so close to the city and all the opportunities it brings as well as a fantastic education.


What is special/different about this specific team?:

We have a very new team this year and I think we meshed very quickly with each other. Team chemistry really makes a team become great, so I am looking forward to what we bring to the table in the Big Ten.


You've helped out off the field as well, how has working on the programs helped you as a player and as a soon-to-be professional?:

It has taught me a lot of the basics of editing in general. I like the challenge of staying within the brand and the behind-the-scenes look of what it takes to be a graphic designer.


When did you first start playing soccer?:

When I was 7.


What is your favorite soccer memory?:

Playing with my club team and all the crazy things we have done together.


What is your favorite local Minneapolis restaurant and what do you order when you are there?:

Wilde Roast in St. Anthony. I like to change it up every time I go.


How do you prepare/get pumped up for a game?:

Go to our team meal at Kafe 421, listen to music and relax in the locker room until the coaches come in.

The first weekend went well for the Gophers. How was it being on the field with the team for the first time?:

It is always so fun playing under the lights with all the fans in the stadium. It is nice to be able to settle in with the team on the field and pull out the win.


If you could give any advice to the younger players on the team, what would it be?:

Confidence is key... don't get frustrated when things may not be going your way, just keep working through it.


What is your "walk out" song and why?:

"Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore, I really like the intro and every time it comes on I just want to get up and dance.


What do you think is your biggest strength on and off the field?:

I think I am a very determined and have a good work ethic. These two things have helped me a lot trying to get to where I want to be.


What are you looking forward to most this season?:

Winning games and all the outreach Gopher soccer does. The volunteering is really fun!

What is your biggest goal for the season?:

Playing in the NCAA Tournament.

How has playing soccer at Minnesota influenced the way you feel about the game?:

Seeing how much people support and love to watch us makes me want to perform even better and has created a whole new aspect of fun while playing.

What is your favorite non-athletic building on campus and why?:

The MacNamara Alumni Center. Being a design major, I think the inside is really awesome, so I love going to events in there.

Who is your biggest role model and why?:

My parents, they are awesome and have taught me so much about how to live a happy life.



This weekend the Golden Gophers will travel for the first time this season for a match against the Cyclones in Ames, Iowa. I sat down with captains Katie Thyken and MacKenzie Misel to talk about their travel "must-haves" in preparation for the trip. Here's what they had to say about what they can't live without when they are on the road! Go Gophers!

Katie: 
  1. My orange crocks 
  2. My own bag of sour patch kids
  3. A CD case full of movies
  4. Either my panda pillow pet, Peter, or my Dalmatian stuffed dog, Max
  5. A deck of cards and possibly a cribbage board
MacKenzie: 
  1. Extra contacts/glasses because I have horrible vision and to be without them, especially during a game would be a tragedy for me. 
  2. My pillow/blanket. I am probably the only current player who cannot read/study on road trips due to motion sickness so I try to sleep the entire time. 
  3. Electronics and their chargers. (iPhone, iPad, iPod, computer)
  4. Nail polish/remover because I have to have my nails done.
  5. A good attitude. - Traveling can get stressful especially when you are in a group of 20+ and there is lots of equipment.

2012 Big Ten Preseason Coaches' Poll Released

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The Big Ten Conference released their 2012 women's soccer preseason coaches' poll this afternoon, so I am going to do a little analyzing of the rankings. Below is the poll as voted by the league's coaches:

1. Penn State
2. Illinois
3. Ohio State
4. Wisconsin
5. Michigan
6. Iowa
    Michigan State
8. Minnesota
9. Purdue
10. Nebraska
11. Northwestern

12. Indiana


The top two teams are no surprises. Penn State, who is currently ranked No. 9 nationally, won its 14th-straight Big Ten title last fall and returns a plethora of talent all around the pitch. Illinois slips in at second after upsetting the Nittany Lions in the Big Ten Tournament Championship. The Fighting Illini enter the season ranked No. 19 in the national preseason poll. Both teams have stars on the field as PSU tallies two players that were named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List in forward Maya Hayes and defender Christine Nairn while Illinois has one in midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo.

I feel that these were nearly given answers to which teams were going to start the season on top of the league.

No. 3 and 4 are Ohio State and Wisconsin. Both are teams that tied the Gophers in the 2011 regular season, despite the Buckeyes not making it to the Big Ten Tournament and the Badgers losing to Minnesota in the opening round. OSU, who is receiving votes in the national preseason poll, did not make the Big Ten Tournament, but they still qualified for the NCAA Tournament and reached the Sweet 16. The lone flag raised between these two is the fact Wisconsin returns only five starters from last season.

These two teams are necessarily surprises since both generally finish near the top of the conference year in and year out.

At the next three slots, we have Michigan, Iowa and Michigan State. These three field quality teams every year but struggle to consistently crack into the top tier of the league. All three have powerful attackers, so don't be surprised if one of these three makes some noise this fall.

At No. 8 sit the Golden Gophers, a squad that finished fifth in the regular season and made it to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Minnesota returns nine starters from last season along with the return of fifth-year senior Tamara Strahota, who sat out all of 2011 due to a leg injury. The Gophers have a youthful team, but with nine starters returning, they are a poised squad.

I feel that this ranking doesn't reflect as much on the team's ability as it does the late coaching change. There is a little shock that a team which returns so much from a semi-successful season, is listed in the bottom half of the league, but then again the Gophers have had to learn a new system in under a month..

Rounding out the final four are Purdue, Nebraska, Northwestern and Indiana. All four have nowhere to go up after faltering last season. At times in 2011, each team showed spurts of being feared program, but by the end of the year, the quartet of teams missed out on the Big Ten Tournament. Don't be surprised if Purdue or Nebraska plays a spoiler roll this season as they each posses a youthful and hungry squad.

All in all, the season starts in three days, and the coaches have spoken. But come Friday, everyone is 0-0-0, and how each team plays throughout the season will speak for itself.