COLUMBIA, Mo. – As March is a celebration of Women’s History Month, the University of Missouri soccer program is taking the time to honor some of the most impactful players in the program’s history, both on and off the field.
Since the start of the Mizzou soccer program in 1996, it has been home to some of the best athletes in MU history, bringing about conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in the team’s 27-year existence. Here is one of the numerous stars who has made Mizzou soccer what it is today.
One of the pioneers of Mizzou women’s soccer, Nikki Thole became one of the foremost soccer players in the program’s early years upon her arrival in Columbia. Thole was a Second-Team All-Big 12 Conference selection in 1997, her first year in the Black and Gold, then became a three-time first-team, all-conference selection from 1998-2000.
Her success on the pitch brought about team success, as Thole earned All-Big 12 Tournament Team honors between 1998-2000 and the Tigers appeared in the final of the Big 12 Championship in each of those three years. In 1999, Thole set school records for most single-season goals (23) and points (55) en route to Mizzou earning its first NCAA Tournament berth. Thole became the program’s first All-American in that campaign, receiving a second-team nod from multiple outlets.
She is Mizzou’s career record holder for points (151) and goals (61) and was the first soccer player inducted into MU’s Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.
Upon graduating, Thole jumped at the chance to play soccer first semiprofessionally in the United States and then for a professional team in England. After her playing career finished, she used her degree in parks and tourism to get a position with St. Louis County parks and then the city of Des Peres, Mo.
When asked about who inspired her during her time at Mizzou Thole said, “I don’t think any one woman inspired me. When playing soccer, I was inspired by my amazing teammates. We pushed each other to be the best we could be every time we stepped onto the field.”.
Thole added about her potential impact, “I hope I showed other players that working hard pays off. Working hard has always yielded positive results, both on and off the field.”.
The St. Louis native spent 20-plus years working in the parks and recreation field before turning…
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