Hannah Wilkinson has just concluded her College Soccer career as a striker for the Tennessee Vols competing in the NCAA D1 Southeastern Conference. ICS gets Wilkinson’s thoughts on her college career, international accomplishments and plans for the future:
ICS: Hi Hannah, Happy New Year and thanks for joining us.
Where did you spend Christmas this year?
Hey! No problem. I spent it in England with my family!
I think I’ll miss the atmosphere of our home games, and being a Tennessee athlete. And obviously my teammates and my coaches.
I was looking at a lots of different colleges in the U.S. and I verbally committed to Maryland, and while I was on my visit the coach (Brian Pensky) told me he was moving to Tennessee, so I thought I’d check it out and I loved it!
That was definitely a challenge, and being out and injured for that long really made me appreciate the game a little more.
Should we be expecting to see you in the NWSL?
I have registered for the NWSL Draft so I’m excited to see how that goes on January 12th, and I guess I’ll go from there!
I think the biggest difference is that the international game is a lot faster, but I do think NCAA play was very competitive and I felt like I was well prepared for international games.
The Olympics was an amazing experience, both London and Rio. I think the highlight is just representing New Zealand as an Olympian, wearing the rings and the Fern on my chest, it is such a significant honor and I could not be more proud.
As soon as we were knocked out of the Rio Olympics we all had our eyes set on France in 2019, so we are all definitely gearing up and getting ready for it. It’s very exciting because we are a very very good team, and people should be expecting great things from us.
The toughest defenders in college were definitely from the University of South Carolina, they marked me right out of the game. And I’ve had some tough contests with French defenders and US defenders like Meghan Klingenberg.
Which cleats will you be wearing in you next match?
I think I’ll definitely stick with my Nike Mercurial Vapors! They’re the most comfortable cleat I’ve ever worn.
ICS: Lastly, do you have any advice for overseas players aspiring to play college soccer in the USA?
I would say if you get the opportunity, go for it. It is just a once in a lifetime experience and it’s just so amazing, you meet the best people and you really do find yourself, as a player and as a person.