Nicolet National Bank Senior Spotlight: Claire Bradford, De Pere hockey, soccer
By William Soquet
Activities: Hockey, soccer
Parents: Andy and Katie Bradford
Claire has excelled on the defensive side of play in both soccer and hockey, competing for the De Pere Redbirds in soccer and the co-op Bay Area Ice Bears in hockey. She has committed to Milwaukee School of Engineering to play soccer.
What drew you to hockey when you first started playing?
“My dad played hockey when he was in college, so when I was to the age where you would start skating and playing mini-mites, he had my sister and I start as soon as we could. We both fell in love and have been playing ever since.”
What age did that happen at?
“I started skating when I was 2 and started playing mini-mites at 5, I believe.”
Do you have any role models in women’s hockey?
“I have looked up to Brianna Decker. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her a few times, and she’s been such a good role model for me and for other girls who are playing hockey. I think that this generation has a lot more female hockey players to look up to than Brianna did, so I think that that’s something that she really strives for, is to be present in the hockey community, especially with female athletes. Having her as a role model has helped me with my hockey career so that I could see the potential of what I could accomplish.”
The Bay Area Ice Bears are a co-op team with a number of different schools. What is that atmosphere like?
“It’s definitely different than in your typical school sports team, but I really enjoy it because we all are excited to come to the rink and excited to see each other because we don’t get to see each other at school. We come extra early to sit and talk about all the drama and stuff or stay after practice, so it’s a really good atmosphere. I like that it’s different than some other sports.”
The Ice Bears won a state championship in early March. Does it feel any more real now?
“I’m definitely still waiting for it to sink in. I think that there was a lot of hype surrounding us going to state, but once we actually won, it was ‘move on to the next thing’ for me because we had our Team Wisconsin tournament that same weekend. It’s more real than it was right when it happened, but it still doesn’t feel like we are state champions yet.”
What does a successful senior soccer season look like to you?
“Last year, we won conference, won sectionals and made our way to state, so I think that winning conference again would be a good accomplishment and then making a good run in the playoffs. Our team definitely looks different than it did last year, but I think we can accomplish as much as we did.”
What’s a defensive technique in soccer that gets overlooked?
“Winning the ball back once you lose it. The high intensity of putting pressure on the other team when they’re in possession of the ball on turnovers is one thing that a lot of players don’t necessarily like to do because it’s hard. That’s something that I enjoy doing because it surprises the other team.”
Do you ever go out to eat after games?
“We like to go to Graystone Ale House. A lot of the parents like to go there after our games and the players will join them. It’s a lot of fun.”
What is a pregame hype song for you?
“I don’t listen to very much music, but one song that I listen to before every game is ‘Baby’ by Justin Bieber.”
What is your favorite streaming show?
“‘Outer Banks.’ I’ve watched all three seasons of ‘Outer Banks,’ but I really like Season 3.”
Do you have any pets?
“I have one dog, her name is Charlie and she is a beagle/terrier mix.”
What are a couple of your hobbies?
“I like to hang out with my friends and I also like to paint and draw.”
What’s your favorite painting medium?
Where is a favorite place you’ve traveled to?
“I’ve never been out of the country, but I am looking forward to going to Italy and Greece this summer. My family goes to the same place in Florida every year for spring break. We go to Anna Maria Island.”
What is your favorite subject?
“My favorite subject in school right now is chemistry.”
What do your plans after high school look like?
“I am going to the Milwaukee School of Engineering. I will be majoring in mechanical engineering and playing soccer.”
What made MSOE the right fit?
“I know I wanted to be an engineer, so MSOE is obviously a very good engineering school. I like the big city aspect of Milwaukee and just being right downtown, having lots of things to do all the time. I also like how it is a pretty small school, so even being in a big city you have that small on-campus feel with small classes and a good relationship with your professors.”