Playing 24 of 26 games, while starting two for over 900 minutes in their first year sounds successful to most players, but for freshmen forward Claire Falknor it wasn’t good enough.
In her first match as a Gator against the University of Miami, she received a pass from now National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) player Erika Tymrak that she shot past the Miami goalkeeper and into the side of the net. Falknor made it look so easy, but the Gators lost the match 4-1 to the Hurricanes. That was the first and only goal Falknor scored on the year. The drought made Falknor reconsider her play-style and become a little discouraged.
“I felt like I lost my confidence last year because I didn’t meet my standards,” Falknor said. “This year, our spring season is a clean slate, and I can start over new and start fresh, and I am slowly building my confidence back.”
She is not only trying to play the spring 2013 season with a new mindset; she is in a new position. Ever since Falknor was a freshman at Centerville High School in Dayton, OH she has been on the attacking side of the field. By her sophomore year she was leading her team in goals and assists with 17 and 14 respectively. Falknor even was ranked among ESPN’s top 150 prospects as a forward. But, Florida Soccer Head Coach Becky Burleigh moved Falknor to defense for the spring 2013 season.
“I am still going to get involved in the attack, but our team has a new identity now that the seniors have left, and there are a lot of spots to fill,” Falknor said.
Falknor showed she still has offensive skills on a road trip to Cary, NC, scoring a goal from the defensive side against Duke that helped the Gators get the victory over the Blue Devils 2-1.
Falknor’s goals now are to help the Gators from whatever position she is on the field to live up to her own expectations, and with the creation of the NWSL in 2013, she hopes she can play well enough to make it to the pros.
“I am really striving to make it to the league, and I am confident this school will prepare me for that,” she said.
Claire Falknor will look to continue improving in the Gators last few spring games, and hopes to be back to top form when fall season begins.