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Up Close: Chicago Red Stars midfielder Nikki Stanton

Sandy, UT - Saturday April 14, 2018: Nikki Stanton during a regular season National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) match between the Utah Royals FC and the Chicago Red Stars at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Nikki Stanton was traded to the Chicago Red Stars along with teammate Sam Kerr from Sky Blue FC in a blockbuster three-team trade in January (Credit: ISI Photos)

As a newcomer to the Chicago area, Red Stars midfielder Nikki Stanton is finding her role with a new team, in a new city. After five NWSL seasons in New Jersey, she felt both prepared and excited for the new adventure. We talked about her journey to today–about the grit and determination it took for her to push her way to a professional roster spot, about the way playing in Australia holds a special place in her heart, and about what she sees that needs to be done to continue to elevate the NWSL.

Hannah Kronick: How did you first start playing soccer?

Nikki Stanton: My older brother, who is three years older than me, played. I went to his practices with my dad and jumped in. I wanted to play myself so I joined my own team and just went from there. I fell in love with it. I played other sports as well but soccer was my main focus and what I loved to do most.

HK: Did you continue playing the other sports you mentioned through high school or were you focused on soccer at that point?

NS: In high school, I played tennis, gymnastics, track, and soccer.

HK: Nice! Did you know at that point that soccer was the one you were going to pursue playing in college?

NS: I played on my club team, Crossfire [Premier], and we were pretty good so…

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