By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.—North Marion’s Dani Christenson will be taking her talents to the next level, committing to Umpqua Community College in Roseburg for next season.
Having played for the Huskies, playing as a right wing, North Marion went 11-4-2 in 2019 during her Junior Year. Reaching the 4A State Semi-Final Round before falling to rival Woodburn 3-1 on November 12, 2019.
As heartbreaking as the game was and how their season ended, the year was still a success, said Christenson.
“Last year was tremendous for North Marion girls’ soccer,” she starts. “I think we had a great run and still could’ve made it all the way but mentally our team didn’t believe in ourselves. Coming into my senior year with the same people and no starting lineup changes could’ve been an amazing advantage of ours. I think NM girls’ soccer still has an amazing team and are all putting in hard work to make it somewhere with the little games we have.
“My coach for North Marion (Ben Bonser) has always advocated for a team that is United and mentally tough. If you aren’t in the game mentally then there’s probably no chance of you being in the game physically. With him teaching me this I took those skills and ran with it. Have always trained a ton on my own simply because I love soccer.”
The Huskies have gone 32-12-5 the past three years since Christenson’s class has entered North Marion as they are hopeful that this year yields the same success if they’re able to take the pitch only losing one Senior from last season’s team.
Back in July, Christenson joined the Westside Timbers out of Beaverton, giving the footballer a chance to improve on her skills while during the craziness in the world at the moment.
“I think this helped me because I was forced to adapt how I play in a new environment around new girls. We are always trying to move quicker and faster. I would say my love for soccer is endless. I love every element about soccer… even the tough training days,” Christenson said. “It took me about two weeks to feel it out and sometimes there are off days but overall, I think I help push the team. We all push each other and that’s what initially pushed me to get better. Always working on better passes and getting the ball off your foot quick.”
The main challenge for her, Christenson adds, was to get to know her teammates when they’re practicing two-to-three times a week while putting in the work.
As she waits and sees what comes of this Spring, the next chapter for her is set in stone. Joining the Riverhawks in the Fall under Whitney Pitalo and Sam Adelman. Pitalo, a South Salem-grad, was the West Salem Head Coach in 2019, leading the 6A Titans to the Semi-Final round before falling to Jesuit in her only year coaching at West Salem.
Adelman played four years at Willamette University on their Men’s Soccer Team after graduating from Arroyo Grande High School in 2012.
For Christenson, she’s ecstatic to be joining those two coaches and is hoping that UCC isn’t the end of her soccer career after her two years there.
“I am beyond excited to be continuing my soccer career through UCC! I have two fabulous coaches that have big plans for our team. I am shooting for playing another two years at a higher level after my two years at Umpqua,” Christenson. “I think my coaches are going to be a great fit for me in order to enhance my skills to reach a higher level.
“Umpqua is a beautiful campus filled with amazing people. Although I haven’t had a senior season yet I’m looking forward to my future!”