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Fairmont Area’s Meyer commits to play soccer for Hamline

MOVING ON — Fairmont Area’s Brooklyn Meyer (left) drives around St. Peter’s Emma Jones (3) during season-opening soccer action during the fall of 2019 at Kot Soccer Complex in Fairmont. Meyer signed a national letter of intent to play soccer for Hamline University next season. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells/Sentinel Archives)

FAIRMONT — Brooklyn Meyer will be lacing up her trademark light blue Nike soccer cleats for the Hamline University women’s program in the upcoming fall season.

The 2020 Fairmont Area Cardinals’ most valuable player signed her national letter of intent on Dec. 22, emailed future collegiate head coach Emily Cripe confirmation of her commitment and chatted with a couple of her future Piper teammates via cell phone.

Sounds like shoo-in decision, right?

Not during a history-changing world-wide COVID-19 pandemic, however.

The Cardinals’ lone all-Big South Conference first-team soccer selection in 2020 had to display the identical “never quit” attitude that helped her battle through a stop-and-go senior soccer campaign this past fall to receive a legitimate offer.

“In an odd year beleaguered by the coronavirus, Brooklyn kept the spirits of her teammates up as game play was stopped and started multiple times,” said Fairmont Area head girls soccer coach Matt Nielsen. “She only cared about the final result of the game and not her own individual statistics. That aspect, combined with her intelligent and physical on-field play, made her a great captain for us.”

After the four-year varsity letterwinner helped guide the Cardinals to a solid 4-2-1 season during an abbreviated senior campaign, there was still plenty of hard work to do to find a collegiate soccer program to play for in 2021.

“Getting recruited was quite a mess with the pandemic going on,” said Meyer, who started drawing the attention of collegiate soccer scouts when she helped power the Cardinals to their second consecutive sectional championship match as a junior. “In February of 2020 I attended a soccer combine and there wasn’t much response, so I went to a college combine at Halloween. After that, I finally received calls from Hamline and St. Benedict’s, and some schools in New York.

“We had such a short season, recruiters didn’t get to see us play, so the whole process was difficult.”

The Cardinals’ hard-working midfielder/striker then carefully weighed her options, and selected Hamline because of the St. Paul-based university’s academics, location and the positive atmosphere surrounding the Pipers’ program.

“Hamline has a major in neuroscience, so that caught my attention,” said Meyer. “I’d like to go to med school and go into either pediatrics or trauma, and maybe eventually become a neurosurgeon.”

Despite the Pipers’ entire 2020 fall campaign being cancelled due to the MIAC’s overall athletic shutdown mandate, Meyer also developed a strong bond with Coach Cripe and her future Hamline teammates via long-distance communications.

“That was a big part of my final decision. Emily seems like a personable coach, and I look forward to playing for her in the fall,” said Meyer. “I’ve also become close with some of my future teammates since meeting them during a visit to the school.

“When I was on campus, Hamline seems to be the perfect location. It’s both close enough and far enough away from Fairmont distance-wise.”

And distance is something the future doctor understands too well from a high school student-athlete’s perspective during the current pandemic.

“Academically, I’ve been taking mainly PSEO (postsecondary enrollment options) this year, and my classes are already online, so I opted to stay with distance learning,” said Meyer.

Now, for the first time since October, a masked-up and fully-uniformed Meyer finally had the opportunity to sit down 6 feet away from a real-life teammate, lace up her hockey skates and hit the ice for practice this past Monday.

“I missed my entire junior track (and field) season due to COVID, parts of my soccer season this fall, and now we’re two months late in beginning hockey season,” said Meyer. “After all we’ve been through, I’m just glad to get the chance to play hockey this month.”

The future Division III soccer player and the rest of the Fairmont Area Cardinals girls hockey team will hold their first face-off against Worthington at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, at Martin County Arena in Fairmont.

“Her tenacity and persistence paid off for her,” said Nielsen.

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