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Tschider accepts soccer scholarship to Augustana

Laker senior Lauren Tschider became the first Division II soccer recruit to receive a scholarship offer when she verbally committed to play at Augustana University last week. Robert Williams / Tribune

Detroit Lakes senior midfielder Lauren Tschider is a testament to having a plan, getting what one wants and doing the work to make it happen.

The Laker senior recently committed to a scholarship to play soccer at Augustana University in Sioux Falls in 2018. She is the first Laker soccer player to earn a Division II scholarship and did much of the legwork to get it herself.

“There isn’t much exposure here in DL as far as soccer,” said Tschider. “It’s not like the cities where there are colleges all around.”

Tschider went to camps at Augustana and sent film and letters directly to the coaching staff to get noticed after looking at possibilities of playing at the University of North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth and and South Dakota State.

“It was a combination of school and soccer,” she said.

Division II began to standout as the commitment demands of of D-I soccer did not fully mesh with Tschider’s plan for after high school.

“I wanted a good balance of life,” said Tschider.

Soccer has been part of her life since she was seven-years old when she began playing with fellow senior and attacker Anna Payne. The duo combined to lead the Lakers in scoring this season.

“We tried out as seventh-graders on varsity and were the only two,” she said. “We’ve always been together.”

ANNA PAYNE

After five years sharing the pitch, Payne and Tschider have an unspoken connection during play and it showed early in the season in the second game when Tschider and Payne led a second half comeback after trailing 2-0 at Alexandria to win 3-2. Both players combined to net eight of the first nine goals to start the year. They were up to speed from the first whistle.

“We know how we play and what to expect from the other,” said Tschider. “That game was pretty exciting. It was fun to turn it around.”

Fun is what drew Tschider to soccer.

“I just kind of fell in love with it right away. It gives me so much joy to play soccer,” she said.

Growing up with the game, Tschider reached a point where she knew she wanted to play in college and spent hours in the backyard working on the nuances of her game, footwork and it shows when she’s on the pitch.

“It’s always been that goal in the back of my mind that I’ve been working toward,” she said. “There are plenty of great players out there and if I want to be one of them I need to be out there putting in work.”

Tschider had positive experiences both in contact with Augustana head coach Brandon Barkus and in attending camps at AU.

“Another reason it was easy to choose was I could tell there was interest in me and they wanted me to feel welcome,” said Tschider. “It also helps to have supportive parents. That’s a big deal.”

Tschider is a top 10 scorer at Detroit Lakes joining a short list of head coach Dave Carter’s best players to move on to the next level like Lane Larson (2001), Halle Jordan (2015), and Emily Payne (2013).

LAUREN TSCHIDER

Tschider could have challenged for Larson’s all-time scoring mark if she was in an attacking position but her skills were far more useful to the team in the midfield where her dribbling and passing skills opened up opportunities for her teammates.

Tschider relishes that role of controlling the middle of the field and has the skills to be a dynamic player on both ends.

“I have played other positions but I think center-mid is where I play my best,” she said.

She frequently drew triple teams from opposing defenses down the stretch, especially in the playoffs from Alexandria and Bemidji. Opposing coaches were easily aware of how to disrupt the Laker offensive flow and that was put more bodies in Tschider’s way.

Being the main target of opposing defenses can make for a frustrating night on the pitch and with only two days gone since the season ended at Bemidji last Saturday, there is still some of that angst, even from a winning season. The Lakers were 11-7 this year.

“On paper we had a good season, it was enjoyable, it still sucks that we didn’t make it further because there was that potential,” Tschider said. “We couldn’t always put a good game plan together. Some games we looked solid and had good passing. In other games, we couldn’t seem to string a couple passes together.”

Now that soccer is over, Tschider will move on to different passes playing guard on the basketball team. Tschider is a three-sport athlete and has seen state-level success being a key contributor to the Laker girls golf dynasty and the last two state championships.

She placed 31st individually and helped DL erase a five-shot, first-round deficit to Lake City and win by four strokes for a fifth Minnesota Class AA state championship in the past six seasons last June. She was also in the junior varsity program during the length of Kate Smith’s run here, which included playing with her sister Matty Tschider, who is a senior golfer at UND.

“I’ve been around that for six years now,” Tschider said.

LAUREN TSCHIDER

Even though soccer is her main priority, being a part of championship teams has left its mark.

“It’s pretty special,” she said. “The fact that it’s such a small team it’s something only the six of us share which is really special. It’s pretty cool when you’re up on the podium and get that medal and the plaque.”

The girls golf program, along with the gymnastics team have paved the way for girls sports in Detroit Lakes. Tschider recognizes there is a blueprint to success and how winning can almost become habitual, like it has for those clubs. On championship day at state golf, Tschider and her five teammates showcased exactly that.

“I think after you perform at a high level you know you can do it,” she said. “I think that’s a big part of it and you almost expect that of yourself. It’s hard to get to the high level, but once you get there it’s easier to stay there.”

LAUREN TSCHIDER

Soccer presents a bigger challenge in the coordination of all 11 players as opposed to one against the golf course and a team of six.

“It’s a little easier in golf because there are less girls that you have to get on board,” she said. “There were six of us and we all wanted the same outcome. Where on a soccer team you have 20-plus girls and some of them are just there to have fun, while others are extremely passionate and motivated about it.”

Having that motivation is what made Tschider a soccer standout at Detroit Lakes. Carter once mused that if he had 11 Laurens on his team they would be battling for a state championship.

Unlike a lot of players who strive for a college athletic career, Tschider had not directly focused all her energies in one sport and heads to Augustana an enticing recruit as a solid, three-sport, high school athlete.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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