Saying West Holmes’ Natalie Parsons is a good soccer player is as accurate of a statement as her deadly right boot is. You see, soccer players call their cleats or shoes “boots,” and Parsons’ right one should be classified as a deadly weapon.
From the center midfield position the senior can drop through balls behind the opposing defense with ease, make simple passes on the ground to keep the Lady Knights in possession and also launch rocket shots that goalkeepers have nightmares about when needed.
In soccer it is often the case that the leading scorers and strikers get all the ink for contributing to a team win with a goal, and most of the time rightfully so. However, what is sometimes forgotten is how that scoring play started and what player had the vision to create the scoring chance.
And that is what Parsons thrives on. She’s a table-setter for the West Holmes’ attack and the motor that churns out scoring chances for the Lady Knights from all over the pitch.
“It’s always a great feeling to score, but dishing out a nice assist and knowing that I set up a teammate for a goal is also just as good of a feeling for me,” Parsons said about her vision from the midfield spot.
And it’s just not in the flow of play that Parsons punishes other teams. She also has incredible accuracy with restarts like a corner kick or a free kick inside the Lady Knights’ offensive third of the field. Last season Parsons scored three goals off restarts in the attacking area and also assisted on three more.
“If it’s a restart outside the box or a corner kick, it’s so fun to make eye contact with our forwards to let them know a good ball is coming their way,” Parsons said. “Any time we get an opportunity to score, it fires me up knowing we have a good chance to score here. I just love it.”
While interviewing Parsons, it was hard not to notice the passion she oozes for the game of soccer, West Holmes and her teammates. You can see that on display when the game starts and she steps onto the field.
“When I’m on this field, everything goes away, and I just do me,” Parsons said. “There’s always been some drive that’s in me to play this sport and do whatever it takes for my teammates and West Holmes to win.”
That fire to play the game has also come from her days of club soccer play. Parsons has played for the Ohio Strikers United, a club based in Wooster, since she was in much smaller boots.
“I joined OSU when I was seven years old,” Parsons said. “There was one season I played for Internationals and then ended up coming back to OSU because I loved it so much and wanted to keep playing year-round.”
Playing that much soccer over that period of time brings us to another special trait that Parsons brings to the Lady Knights’ 2016 edition. Experience. You name the game situation, and she’s probably been through it. Parsons can use that wisdom and know-how to lead the Lady Knights through just about anything they’ll endure this year.
“Natalie is so solid,” said first-year Lady Knights’ coach Brooke Mowrer. “She can sometimes go unappreciated. Her skills are so solid that you just expect a lot out of her. Natalie is the anchor of our midfield and can get the ball to our forwards many different ways.”
If you catch a Lady Knights’ soccer game this year, you’ll hear this phrase at least five-to-ten times. “Good ball Nat.” That means that Parsons has just played another great pass to a teammate, setting up a Lady Knights’ scoring chance, something she’s incredibly good at.