It was fall, and Claire Erickson ‘24 was nine. She was about to start her first season of soccer.
“My oldest brother played soccer when he was younger. My younger sister and I always went to his games and I just thought he was the coolest person ever and I wanted to be just like him.”
Presently, Erickson is on her eighth season and has been playing for the High School since 9th grade. However, Erickson is set apart from the rest; she has been a high school captain since her sophomore year. A role that is traditionally reserved for upperclassmen, Erickson recounts her experience, “It was kind of crazy being with the other captains that were seniors. They were a lot bigger and stronger than I was, I was like a shrimpy little sophomore and so that was, in terms of the physical aspect of the game, that was challenging.” Having to navigate leading a high school team is not for the faint of heart, but it helps when the people around you are supportive. “The seniors my sophomore year, they were really welcoming and encouraging. They taught me a lot of leadership skills.”
Some of the responsibilities that come with being a leader are leading all the time, 24/7, and setting good examples for the people around you.
“Our coach puts a really strong emphasis on not only leading off the field but leading on the field, so we’re expected to be super competitive all the time, always trying to win,” Erickson said.
Although Erickson had to work twice as hard to catch up with the other senior captains, it hasn’t been without benefit.
“It’s hard to get out of bed every morning and be like “Oh, I have to go to soccer, again,” and the physical training is difficult, but getting to do it with some great people, and people who are going through the same thing, is just so overly rewarding. I am a very relational person and so being able to make connections and play the sport I love with my best friends is something that I’m just truly beyond blessed to do.”
Erickson also leads in a program called FCA. FCA stands for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They meet every other week to plan events called “huddles” that take place once a month. “We’ll have a speaker come and talk, we always have food and snacks, and we always play a big game because we’re very sport/athlete-focused. Kids from everywhere come together and we just have fellowship with one another and try to build relationships.”
After being prompted by her friend, Peyton Anderson 24’ to join bible study sessions at the middle school, Erickson got involved with FCA.
“When COVID hit in our 8th-grade year, we were forced to go digital. That didn’t really work, but Peyton and I, we really wanted to keep something going. So, we recorded devotionals. That’s when Mr. Watkins, our leader at the middle school, was like ‘hey I think you guys should consider leading at the high school’, so once COVID was tame, we got into the leading aspect of it.”
At their meetings the FCA leadership team plans the huddles and practices making connections.
“One of our big mottos is ‘you can’t pour into others if you’re not being poured into’ so we focus a lot on discipleship. We’re a relational ministry, so we want to build connections, but then everything is rooted in the gospel and how we’re going to spread the word of the Lord. We need to know how to do that, so that’s what we focus on as a leadership team is how we can be at the root of sports and athletes, but how can we glorify God in the doing of it.”
“I joined choir in 7th grade. I originally played the saxophone in 6th grade, but I was really bad,” Erickson remembered. “I love to sing. I sing at church too so being able to keep doing that is really fun.” Erickson’s church went on a mission trip to South Dakota this summer. “There’s a talent show, and my youth leader and I, we sang a duet, which was really cool. We sang a song called ‘Honey in the Rock’ by Brooke Ligertwood. Then when we get back we do a youth breakfast, and the whole congregation comes and you talk about the trip. and we sang it at the breakfast too.”
In addition to singing at her church, Erickson is in the Concert Choir at BHS.
“I’m not gonna lie, Concert Choir was a little eye-opening this year. It’s a really big step up because the returning seniors and our section leaders are very talented. My favorite thing is, at the end, when we finally get a piece we’ve been working on for months, we finally get it down pat and it’s just perfect. There’s nothing like that, when all the harmonies are matched up, it’s really really cool.”
“If I wasn’t in extracurriculars I don’t know what I’d be doing if I’m being super honest. I’m super busy all the time, and that’s how I like it. Every person that I’m surrounded by is so supportive and encouraging and walks with me every step which is just so crazy and amazing.” Erickson recounts the importance of being a part of the groups in her life, “being so busy helps me stay on top of academics and school work as well because I know that I have to get this done before my game or I have to get this done before my FCA event. I think while everything’s super fast-paced, it keeps me on a schedule and orderly and organized.”
“I think people take for granted the people that support them and the people that put in so much work into helping you become not only a better player, a better singer, but a better person. And it goes by so fast, it’s crazy to think that we’re juniors and freshman year was so long ago, it’s really important to be grateful.”
The Hoofprint reached out to Assistant Soccer Coach Carrie Schmitt and Choir teacher Zack Carlson for a word about Erickson.
Q: How would you describe Claire?
A: “Claire is a positive leader on and off the soccer field. Claire is a kind, determined and supportive student athlete who is always willing to support those around her.”
Q: What qualities does Claire have that help her be a better player?
A: “Claire consistently displays good sportsmanship. She is self motivated, prepared and has pure will to win. Claire believes in herself and her ability to constantly improve. She remains positive in all situations.”
Q: What’s your favorite memory of Claire?
A: “Watching Claire play and love the game of soccer fills my bucket. Each time I have the opportunity to watch Claire play soccer is my favorite memory.”
Q: What is something younger people could learn from Claire?
A: “Claire understands the game of soccer (what is happening on the field). Claire consistently shares her understanding of the game with her teammates during practice and games to ensure everyone is playing to their full potential. I value her desire to help others see the game as she does. Our younger players learn a great deal about the game through Claire’s leadership.”
Q: Was there anything about her that surprised you?
A: “Claire is wise beyond her years. Watching her lead others in her areas of passions does not surprise me, it excites me for all she has to give others!”
Q: How would you describe Claire?
A: “Hardworking, dedicated, and passionate.”
Q: What qualities does Claire have that help her be a better student?
A: “She doesn’t stop trying. I think that’s really huge. She’s always willing to help her classmates.”
Q: What’s your favorite part about being her teacher?
A: “Knowing that the sky’s the limit. She’s going to continue to work hard and continue to grow until she graduates. I think that’s really cool to see because a lot of students have this fixed concept of their own achievements and I think she has the ability to go past any of that, and really reach as far as possible, which is just really cool.”
Q: Was there anything that surprised you when you first met her?
A: “How mature she was. Like right off the bat she was always kind and respectful, a lot of my students are kind and respectful, but it stuck out to me because ninth grade is always a challenging time.”
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: “She’s awesome.”