Fond du Lac Soccer Association (FDLSA) recently awarded $250 scholarships to graduating Seniors Abby Larson (Fond du Lac High School), Alicyn Orlando (Fond du Lac High School), Jack Rabe (Winnebago Lutheran Academy), and Evan Schwalbach (Fond du Lac High School). Eligibility for these scholarships requires having played on a FDLSA team for four or more years, a criterion easily met by all.
“I have played soccer my whole entire life – since I could walk,” wrote Larson in her scholarship application. She notes her father, Craig Larson, as her favorite coach, making her lifelong player comment easily understood. Larson began playing for FDLSA’s Recreational League when she was 5, and advanced to Select League at age 12. Her love for the sport continued through high school, where she played on the JV and Varsity teams. Larson also assisted FDLSA as a referee and volunteer coach. She offers this advice to younger soccer players, “Always work hard and never give up… Soccer isn’t all about ball skills and shooting; it’s about conditioning, mental toughness, and strength. Without those three things, it’s tough to play soccer.” Larson plans to study at UW-Milwaukee this fall, with her major currently undeclared.
Orlando has spent the last 14 years playing soccer – the first 6 in Rec League and the last 8 in Select. She served as a referee for FDLSA, as well as supporting the Club through various complex volunteering efforts. She too joined the JV and Varsity teams in high school. “Soccer has truly changed my life,” Orlando stated in her application. “It has taught me some of the most valuable life lessons that are hard to be taught anywhere else. I’ve learned to work with others, how to persevere, and how to always be determined to finish what I’ve started.” She will study elementary education or interior design at UW-Fond du Lac this fall.
Rabe plans to attend UW-Madison this coming school year, and will major in biomedical engineering. His love for soccer began at age five, when he first started to play. He joined FDLSA’s Rec League in 2011 and played Select from 2012 – 2018. He has volunteered at multiple soccer camps the last four summers, and has helped his parents coach his sisters’ Rec teams. Rabe encourages young players to get involved with soccer in as many ways as possible. “Join a Rec team, try out for Select, play an indoor league, or start a scrimmage during recess,” he wrote. “This will greatly improve your skills and knowledge of the game. Not only that, you’ll also make plenty of friendships along the way.”
Schwalbach will also study at UW-Madison this fall, focusing on biology pre-med. There are few areas he hasn’t supported FDLSA in the last 12 years he’s played soccer. He started as a Rec player, joined the Select League at the U11 level, became a referee as soon as his age allowed, and has helped with various volunteer efforts over the years. Schwalbach also played for the Varsity soccer team all four years of high school. When asked to provide advice to younger players, he wrote, “Players must remember that this is a team sport. Support and encourage your teammates, and they will do the same. Create strong bonds because these teammates can truly become brothers (or sisters).” He adds, “On a less technical note, have fun!”
FDLSA wishes its awardees, other scholarship applicants, and all graduating Senior players good luck in the years ahead. We hope to see you continue to play on our Adult League and participate at the complex for years to come!