Seidl succeeds in

Jim Schortemeyer

It’s a brisk spring night, and another long day of school has passed. Soccer practice was a little rough, and a pile of homework sits undone.
What would you do?
Gophers sophomore soccer player Laurie Seidl would haul her dad outside and make him tend goal while she worked on her shots in the dimming light.
“We used to joke that her dad was an all-state goalkeeper after all that practice with Laurie,” Seidl’s high school coach Joe Moreau said.
“My dad was always my goalie growing up,” Seidl said. “We used to practice on weekends and in free time.”
So far, those evening and weekend practices have paid off for Minnesota and Seidl. Last season Seidl earned the Big Ten’s Newcomer of the Year award, helping Minnesota to its second Big Ten Championship. Halfway through her sophomore season with the Gophers, Seidl’s total of 21 career goals has her in seventh place on the all-time list for Minnesota. Seidl and her teammate, junior Nicole Lee, are tied for the Big Ten lead this season in points, with 24.
But one problem — and there aren’t many — Minnesota coach Sue Montagne sees in Seidl’s game is a lack of consistency. Seidl scored eight of her goals in three games, while scoring four in the other seven games.
After going through a little slump at the start of the Big Ten season, Seidl’s play has improved recently. She tallied three goals last weekend at Michigan and Michigan State.
“I’m a pretty driven and goal-oriented person,” Seidl said. “I just keep working hard.”
Anecdotes about her dedication dominate discussions with people who’ve worked or played with Seidl. In her freshman year, she made the varsity squad at St. Charles high school in Illinois, but her coach wasn’t overly impressed with her abilities.
“There were four freshman on the varsity team, and she was probably the fourth out of that group,” Moreau said.
Her game quickly improved, and Seidl left behind impressive numbers: 43 goals her senior season and 115 in her career. Both were school records. Along the way, St. Charles became the first high school in Illinois to repeat as state champions — in Seidl’s junior and senior seasons.
But numbers or individual honors weren’t on Seidl’s mind in high school. Her devotion to best friend and teammate Megan Richardt was tested when Richardt was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease during her 10th-grade year.
Though the form of cancer went into remission, it came back during the pair’s senior year, and this time proved more difficult to beat. Seidl is still reluctant to talk about that part of her high school life.
“It was a tough time, but we were best friends and we stayed really close, and worked it out,” she said. “It’s just tough to talk about.”
Richardt survived the second time around, and went on to a soccer scholarship at Arizona State.
Helping her friend through a bout with Hodgkin’s demonstrates another part of Seidl’s personality — she goes at a problem.
On the field, Seidl plays the same way. Sometimes she’s in the middle of a group of defenders, trying to sneak through the opposing defense. And when Seidl has a ball in front of the goal, the goalie had better be ready for a shot. Seidl has 37 shots on the year, second only to Lee with 38.
“Laurie is really persistent. She’s constantly working for the ball,” Montagne said. “When she’s having her best days, she’s playing the ball physically. She’s not a one-on-one player. Laurie’s a good possession player and she’s extremely good in the middle.”
Minnesota and Seidl might be a perfect match. The type of program Montagne developed has turned out to be exactly what Seidl was looking for.
“The team is a really close-knit team,” Seidl said. “It’s just a lot of fun. A lot of people have the same attitude of working hard, and wanting to win.”