IOWA CITY, Iowa – Nicole Urban stayed in Iowa City this summer to take classes at the University of Iowa, but cracking books wasn’t all she had on her schedule.
The Lisle High School graduate also spent plenty of time on her soccer skills to get ready for the 2013 season.
“We were training hard,” Urban said. “We did conditioning four times a week, we lifted and we played pickup games. A handful of girls stayed here this summer and some local guys from Iowa City would come out and we would all play.”
Urban said she and her teammates played 90 minute pickup games twice a week. The time spent on soccer activity has Urban primed for the season, which begins with an exhibition game against visiting Milwaukee on Saturday before the season opener Aug. 23 at Drake.
“I think technically I’ve improved a lot,” said Urban, who also looked at Western Michigan and Illinois-Springfield before choosing Iowa. “First touch, keeping the ball on my feet and possessing it, I’ve gotten a lot better.”
Coming from Lisle’s successful program and the tutelage of head coach Paul Kohorn, Urban said she felt prepared for what the college game had in store. But even the coaching of Kohorn, a successful club coach who started the Lisle program, couldn’t give Urban all the tools to succeed.
“I would say I was prepared for it, but it was still a huge jump,” she said. “The game is a lot quicker and everyone is really good.”
Listed as a forward on the 2013 fall roster, Urban played outside midfielder during the Hawkeyes’ spring season after playing central midfielder during her senior season at Lisle in 2011. Changing positions never is easy, but Urban has adjusted and doesn’t mind where she plays as long as she gets on the field.
“It’s definitely a different mindset [when you change], but I don’t mind it,” Urban said. “I just want to get on the field.”
Last season she played in 17 games for the Hawkeyes, making one start and finishing the season with a goal and an assist. Urban hopes for more this fall for herself and for her team.
“I just want to keep getting playing time and contributing offensively to the team,” she said. “As a team, our one goal is to always be in the upper end of the Big Ten. We were in the Big Ten tournament last year, and now the big goal is to make the NCAA tournament. That’s the big one for us this year.”