By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – Now that the 2020 spring sports season has been canceled due to COVID-19, Green Bay Southwest High School senior Emma Pierce said she might look into playing college soccer.
“I hadn’t planned on playing past high school, but I didn’t expect things to end like they did my senior year,” she said. “I was hoping for at least a few games, but it’s not going to happen. Now that high school soccer is officially done, it’s heartbreaking for me.”
With Gov. Tony Evers’ most recent Safer at Home order extended until May 26, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association canceled the spring sports seasons at its April 21 meeting.
“Emma has been a four-year, varsity player for me and would have been one of my leaders this season,” said Southwest girls’ soccer coach Tyler Thomas. “She’s an interesting girl and works hard. She improved her stamina lots over the years and was able to play most of the 90 minutes in a game. She’s also fun and would have been in the running for an all-conference award this year.”
Pierce said she has mutual respect for her coach.
“I loved having Tyler as my coach,” she said. “He reminds me of the coach I had growing up in club soccer. He’s kind, helpful, gives good critiques and not a negative person.”
Emma, the daughter of Dawn and Mark Pierce, joined the Army National Guard and will be reporting to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for boot camp in June.
“Things are up in the air right now,” said Pierce, who describes herself as hard-working, honest and passionate. “It’s a five-month process, but after that, I plan to attend UW-River Falls. I’m not sure what I’ll study, but I have an interest in sociology and political science. There’s a lot to think about.”
She said her most memorable soccer moment occurred during her freshman year.
“My first year on varsity, we played Pulaski in sectionals,” Pierce said. “The game got delayed for lightning multiple times, so they postponed the second half until the next day. We ended up losing, but it was still memorable.”
Her most embarrassing moment occurred the next season in regionals.
“I wasn’t very good at running and didn’t have much stamina my first two years on varsity,” she said. “I was playing midfield against Menasha, and this girl knocked me off the ball. I was breathing heavily, and the ref asked if I was okay. It was embarrassing having the ref stop the game because I was breathing hard, and he thought something was wrong with me.”
Pierce played volleyball her freshman and sophomore years, but then made a decision that changed her high school career.
“I decided to join cross country my junior and senior year, and I had a fun time,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d like running, but I learned to enjoy it. It helped me become a better soccer player.”
Pierce has an older brother, Bryan, who is 21 and working in Amery, Wisconsin, but recently accepted a job in Appleton.
Her mom is from Green Bay, while her dad is from Wisconsin Rapids and moved here when he was 11.
Pierce said her family has played sports in the past.
“Bryan played basketball and football in high school, and my dad did baseball and still plays softball now,” she said. “My mom was a tennis gal.”
Besides soccer, Pierce enjoys rollerblading on the Fox River Trail, eating ribs, playing solitaire on her phone, Oreo Concrete Mixers from Culvers, Instagram, the color gray, Twix and Snickers candy bars and music from Taylor Swift.