The Love for the Game

N Our Voice by Eleanor Dale

Scott Bruhn

From a young age, soccer was sewn into my heart.

It all started when I was just five years old, and my dad and granddad owned a local team.

I vividly remember being dragged to watch their matches.

And as I did, I began to enjoy and appreciate the game more and more.

My dad and granddad became my role models, instilling in me the love for soccer that would shape my future.

My granddad played a significant role in my early development as a player. He would spend countless hours with me in the backyard, teaching me fundamental skills.

I can still picture the brick he placed in the middle of the garden, challenging me to hit it with my left and right foot repeatedly.

Those moments with my granddad built the foundation for everything I've accomplished, including my recent Big Ten Forward of the Year and College Soccer News Player of the Week honors.

An special debut with my granddad

One of the most remarkable moments of my career happened when I made my debut for the England national team.

It was 2019, and we were playing against the USA at home.

Standing on that field, representing my country, was an indescribable feeling. And scoring my first goal for England made the moment all the more memorable.

But what made it even more special was the fact that my granddad was in the stands.

To have him witness that milestone in my career meant the world to me.

He had been my guiding light, my source of inspiration, and his presence that day made this remarkable experience even more significant.

Little did I know that it would be one of the last games he saw me play before he passed away the following year.

My granddad's influence extended beyond the soccer field.

His life lessons, such as hard work, dedication, and resilience, were values I carried with me throughout my journey.

He taught me that success in any endeavor required unwavering determination and a strong work ethic. These principles became the cornerstones of my soccer career and life in general.

A leap across the Atlantic

After my time playing back home in England, I was excited to embark on a new adventure and play college soccer in the United States.

The opportunity to combine academics and athletics in a vibrant university setting was incredibly attractive to me.

And once I had the chance to visit Nebraska, I knew that this was the place I wanted to be.

But the early days weren't easy.

In my freshman year, I faced the setback of a severe ankle injury that required months of rehabilitation. In retrospect, this adversity only strengthened my game and fueled my determination to come back stronger, both as a person and as a player.

But in the moment, it was difficult to cope with.

Success and aspirations

Despite the obstacles, though, I have found immense success at Nebraska, particularly during this current campaign.

Becoming a Big Ten champion with my teammates was undoubtedly a highlight of my college career. It was a validation of the hard work and dedication we had put into building a strong program.

But this achievement does not mark the end — rather, it fuels our desire to continue striving for greatness.

As focused as I am on finishing this season strong, I know my time at Nebraska is limited.

And as I approach the end of my college journey, I'm thinking of my next chapter.

I plan to pursue a professional career in the Women's Super League back in England. And who knows, maybe I even get to play for my dream team, Manchester United.

While soccer has been the driving force in my life, I also have other aspirations.

The world of sports analysis and commentary has always intrigued me. Breaking down games, analyzing tactics, and providing insights would be an opportunity for me to share my passion and knowledge with others.

Either way, whether it's playing or commentating, I want to leave a lasting impact on this sport that has given me and my family so, so much.

 A big thanks to my family

Throughout my journey, my family, especially my dad and granddad, have been my pillars of support.

Their influence, along with the experiences and challenges I've encountered, have shaped me into the player and person I am today.

As I continue to chase my dreams, their presence and guidance will forever be etched in my heart.

My dad's support was unwavering, from those early days watching local matches to cheering me on in the biggest stadiums.

Best of all, he was not just a soccer dad but also a mentor and friend. His words of encouragement before every match, his advice, and the countless hours he spent driving me to practice were invaluable.

Now, as I look ahead to the next chapter of my career, I carry their legacy with me. I am not just a product of my own hard work, but a testament to the influence of family at home and here at Nebraska.

Soccer has been the thread that binds us, and it is a bond that will never break, even as I pursue my dreams in the Women's Super League and beyond.

But for now, let's finish this season strong.

Go Huskers!

Eleanor Dale #9 Soccer vs Purdue- DG007Nebraska Women's Soccer forward Eleanor Dale #9 Soccer vs Purdue