CHICAGO – Something never change with an athlete even if circumstances do, and that’s certainly the case for a Red Stars rookie defender this spring.
Arlington Heights native Amanda Kowalski initially made it onto the NWSL club as a national team replacement for Tierna Davidson, one of the more established players on the Red Stars. As she did, the attitude she had was the same she carried at Buffalo Grove High School and then Butler University.
“Kind of a value of mine growing up was always to know my role as a player,” said Kowalski. “Whenever I go into situations, always having a positive mindset, and whatever role I’m put in as a player, it’s always with the team’s benefit at mind.”
But what that was changed very quickly for the rookie in March, when Davidson tore her ACL in training.
Suddenly, Kowalski was going to be on the main roster for the Red Stars not only for the NWSL Challenge Cup but the regular season as well. It’s a major opportunity for the first year player that came in the least ideal of circumstances.
“It was very upsetting for everybody,” said Kowalski of Davidson’s injury. “It was kinda difficult for me because I was so happy that I was able to be put on the team and put into that kind of environment.”
But she didn’t stray from the mantra that she’s had throughout her entire soccer career, which was to find her role and do what she could in it.
“I felt a little guilty being excited about it (moving up to take Davidson’s spot) but eventually I kinda went back into that same mindset where I was just accepting my role and that’s part of the game, so just embraced it,” said Kowalski.
In doing so, she’s gotten to make her debut a little earlier than expected for the Red Stars, playing in three Challenge Cup games for the club. She even had a goal against Racing Louisville FC on April 16th, and they’ll be the opponent when Kowalski is on the roster for her first regular season home opener on Saturday at 7 PM at SeatGeek Stadium.
While her mindset has been a key to adjusting to the new situation, Kowalski gives plenty of credit to hear teammates for helping her get up to speed in professional soccer.
“The veteran players have been kinda helping me get into the right positions on the field,” said Kowalski. “I’ve had multiple phone calls with some of the players before games just to prepare and some things they’ve told me that they wish someone told them when they were rookies.
“It’s really cool kinda being able to be put into this situation and also have such supportive teammates on top of it.”
While never changing her focus even if the circumstance do in soccer.
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