Dave Flower had just finished coaching his club soccer team Saturday at a tournament in Washington state when he went over to watch a game involving Nicole Eriksen, the star center back of his Westhill High School team.
“I got there at halftime and Nicole wasn’t there,” Flower said. “They told me she broke her ankle. I thought it was a joke.”
Unfortunately it was not. Eriksen, playing with her CFC team in the final game of the summer, went up for a 50-50 ball in the first five minutes, landed awkwardly and fractured her left ankle.
“It happened in a split second,” Eriksen said this afternoon. “I heard it snap. I was like, ‘Oh, no.’ “
Eriksen is scheduled to have surgery on Thursday. She will wear a full leg cast for four weeks, a smaller cast for another four weeks and then begin rehabilitation. If all goes well, Eriksen hopes to be back to help the Vikings attempt to defend their state title by late September or early October.
Given the circumstances, Eriksen has kept a positive attitude.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Eriksen said. “I’m going to miss most of the Westhill season and it’s the last one playing with the older people. The junior year is supposed to be your most important. But I am not going to let it affect me. I can’t play. but I won’t stop going to practices and I am going to go to some of the summer camps still with the team.”
One of the players Eriksen will not get a chance to play with at the start of the season is her older sister, Kirsten, a starting midfielder.
Eriksen is coming off an outstanding sophomore season. It was her stop that led to the transition attack that resulted in the Vikings’ winning goal in the final minute of last year’s state final win over Glastonbury. Eriksen is considered the team’s best college prospect, with the chance to play for a fairly high Division I program.
Flower said the injury should not have an impact with college coaches.
“It is luckily not a more severe injury and it would have hurt her more if it happened in the spring,” he said.
Westhill will now open the fall without Eriksen and another starting defender, Clare Mahoney, who tore her ACL over the winter.
“It’s a blow, but both kids will be back,” Flower said. “You can’t worry about it. We’ll be fine.”
Eriksen, one of the most popular players with her teammates, is maintaining that same upbeat approach.
“I’m just going to work hard to get back as soon as I can,” she said. “I can’t wait to get back and play.”
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