By Ohio State goalkeeper Jillian McVicker
Nichelle Prince knows how to make a statement, whether it's getting the game-winning goal against No. 8 Florida or being named to the Canadian Olympic Qualifying squad. Right now, Prince is taking the semester off to pursue her dream to compete in the Olympics for her country.
Prince has known since she was a young girl that she wanted to play on the national team to represent her country in the World Cup and Olympics.
"It's something I've always wanted to do and every decision I have made in my life regarding soccer has had to do with that goal," Prince said. "I will say, though, that my goals are more defined and specific than they once were as I am more clear about what it takes to get there."
Prince stays motivated with her goal-setting by realizing the importance of holding herself accountable.
"One of the biggest honors of playing for the national team is the fact that thousands of people are trusting and believing in this team to make a difference for the country," Prince said. "We are trying to influence children, adults, our families to go after their dreams."
When you have that responsibility, it's important that you try and be the best version of yourself everyday, she said.
"I’ve been trying to implement that in my everyday life my asking the question how can I be a better sister, daughter and friend today and doing the little things in order to be the best I can at those roles," Prince added. "I didn’t fully believe that I could make a difference for the team and have a big role, but as I’ve matured and grown as a player I now realize I have the ability to make a difference for Canada soccer."
Her first experience with the women's team was at age 17, and as she's grown older, so has her confidence.
"As a younger player I want to be able to make an impact on this team whether I’m starting or finishing a game," Prince said. "My role may change throughout the tournament, so it’s just important for me to be open and prepared for that and take my opportunities when they come."
Although her confidence has grown, Prince said it's something she needs to work on, which comes with the stress of playing in an elite environment every day.
"It's really just been about silencing the negative voices in my head and trusting my abilities," Prince said. "It’s not easy, and I still have a lot to improve on but I have seen a change in my mentality since I started with the program in 2013."
This experience has helped Prince become more educated and the coaches have tactical knowledge that is really helping her game, she said.
“Not only am I learning things that will help me in this environment, but it also gives me the accolades I need to be recognized by coaches in the NWSL and overseas,” Prince said. “Right now my focus is on this tournament and qualifying for the Olympics, but professional soccer is definitely something that I will be thinking about in the near future.”
Prince plays her first game on Feb. 11 against Guyana in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship in Texas.
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