Douglas excited to be a Badger

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton soccer standout Grace Douglas (front) signed her national letter of intent to play for the University of Wisconsin on Wednesday. Douglas is shown with her parents, Steve and Mary, and her sister Emily./Photo submitted

For months and months, Grace Douglas thought she’d be spending the next four years out of state.

Maybe the east coast, where several colleges were interested in the Middleton girls soccer standout.

The state of Illinois also seemed like a viable option, as both Northwestern and the University of Illinois were banging on Douglas’ door.

But in a minor upset, Douglas chose to attend college just 10 minutes from home. And on Wednesday, Douglas signed her national letter of intent to play soccer at the University of Wisconsin.

“I was originally very interested in leaving home, and so I started emailing and going to different camps for schools on the east coast,” said Douglas, a defender. “Originally I was sure that I wanted to at least leave the state. I was surprised when I suddenly became interested in Wisconsin.

“The academic and athletic possibilities offered at Madison are nearly unbeatable. It just so happens that it's down the street.”

Douglas, who gave the Badgers a verbal commitment during her junior year, never wavered. And that surprised some — perhaps even Douglas herself.

Northwestern appealed to Douglas throughout the process, and was her second choice. Douglas also gave serious consideration to both Virginia and William and Mary.

But the UW had everything Douglas wanted — and then some.

“Personality-wise, Madison fit me better,” said Douglas, whose parents and sister both attended the UW, as well. “I have not had any regrets or worries about my decision. I am incredible ecstatic to become part of the Badger family.”

Wisconsin has gone to the NCAA Tournament four times in the last seven years under coach Paula Wilkins, highlighted by a Sweet 16 appearance in 2009. Douglas was excited by the Badgers’ success — as well as everything else the school had to offer.

“What was most appealing about the soccer program that Coach Wilkins runs is the family atmosphere and acceptance that is portrayed throughout the teammates,” Douglas said. “They all support each other, no matter the situation. I also admire the fast pressure and tenacity I see when I watch their games.

“What I liked most about the UW was the fact that it offered so many options. The possibilities were endless at the UW. Being an athlete, I am a competitive person and any chance I get to yell and cheer at a sporting event I will take. Wisconsin's loyalty and energy was something I loved, and I think in the end helped me make my decision.”

The Badgers are certainly getting a good one in Douglas.

Douglas was a first-team all-Big Eight Conference selection as a sophomore. In addition to being a defensive stalwart, Douglas had six goals and two assists that season.

Last year, Douglas was named second-team all-league, something that left many in the league somewhat mystified.

“While I wish the conference coaches would have voted her onto the first-team, I know and the team knows that Grace is a first-team quality player,” Middleton coach Mary Duffy said at the time. “And she will continue her dominance on the field in her senior session.” 

The 6-foot-1 Douglas is a terrific athlete, who was also a three-year letter-winner for Middleton’s girls basketball team. Her combination of size, speed and overall athleticism could make her an immediate contributor for the Badgers when the 2016 season begins in August.

“Every year someone comes in and helps the program,” Douglas said. “For me, I think the best kind of contribution I can give to the program is being ready. No matter what my skills are now, they will develop before preseason to the best of my abilities.

“Being a defender, it is often hard to work yourself into the line-up because the defense rarely comes off in a game. They are a system within the system. They mold and learn how to play together. The best I can do freshman year is work so hard that it is difficult to not play me.”

 

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