Super Seven Spotlight: Senior Katie Shelander Katie Shelander is the first of seven seniors on the Minnesota soccer team to be profiled this summer.
In an eight-part series leading up to the 2010 Minnesota soccer season, Gophersports.com will profile each of the team's seven seniors along with the program's longtime student manager. In part one of the series, Gophersports.com highlights the career of senior Katie Shelander...
A prototypical program player, Gophers senior Katie Shelander personifies the mission of the Minnesota Soccer Champion Development Program, which prides itself on developing successful players and people better than anyone in the nation.
"Katie is an extraordinary example of what it means to be a 'great teammate' in our program, putting her team and teammates above all else," Minnesota head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. "She is willing to do whatever it takes to make MN Soccer the best possible - playing any position, fulfilling any role and working hard each and every day."
A native of Roseville Minn., Shelander developed a passion for Gopher soccer at a young age while living just blocks from Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium and attending Denney Wright's youth camps. After an impressive high school career during which she earned All-State honors in 2006 and helped her club team to a pair of runner up finishes at the State Cup in 2005 and 2006, Shelander joined a class of Gopher soccer players that helped bring Minnesota back to the top of the Big Ten with a conference championship in 2008 - just their second year with the program.
On the field, Shelander had a career game in 2009 as a junior when she tied a program record and set the Big Ten standard for the season with three assists in Minnesota's 9-0 win over South Dakota State. Known for her team-first mentality, Shelander has appeared in 45 games during her first three years with the squad.
This season, Shelander is slated to be one of Minnesota's most versatile players - fitting seamlessly into whatever role is asked of her whether it be as a forward, a midfielder or a defensive player. Whether as a start or coming off the bench, Shelander has embraced her role on the team and is poised to help the team succeed once again in 2010.
Off the field, Shelander is a "glue player" according to Denney Wright. Her training and academic development (she was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team last year) have set the standard for younger players on the team while her leadership helps the Gophers act more as a family than as a team.
"Katie's dedication, unselfishness and work ethic have made her a special player in our program. Off the field, she is an important leader for our team - always getting the team together and constantly investing in her teammates," Denney Wright said. "Over the past years, Katie's development on the field and in the classroom has been truly remarkable. We are so proud of her development and we are honored that she is part of the MN Soccer Family.