Germantown native, and Northwest High School alum, Britt Eckerstrom was voted the National Women’s Soccer League Player of the Week by the NWSL Media Association for Week 8 of the 2016 season, after her performance as goalkeeper for the Western New York Flash last week.
Eckerstrom, who was drafted by Flash in January after winning the NCAA Women’s National Championship with Penn State University, has yet to concede a goal in her professional career and helped the Flash earn a 1-0 win last Saturday against the Orlando Pride at Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, NY. It was the Eckerstrom’s second start and the team’s third consecutive win at home this season.
The 23-year-old, who is playing in her rookie season with the Flash, grew up in Germantown, playing on local fields at the Maryland SoccerPlex with the old Seneca Soccer Association, which has since been folded into Maryland Rush Montgomery. As she got older and increased her skills, she played travel soccer with Frederick Soccer Club with the Washington Area Girls Soccer League.
While she did not play soccer at Northwest High School, she did run track and earned six Maryland State titles in indoor and outdoor track.
It has been a tumultuous few months since the NWSL season started. She was drafted in January, and on March 10, on the eve of driving to Rochester to report for Flash pre-season camp when her family’s house caught fire and she lost most of her belongings which were packed in her car. Eckerstrom and her family, as well as the two Washington Spirit players that were staying with her family, were all displaced by the massive fire.
In an interview with Germantown Pulse conducted shortly after she was drafted, Eckerstrom said that growing up in Germantown; she was surrounded by soccer living within steps of the fields of the SoccerPlex in Boyds. “You could see my house from the field,” said Eckerstrom. “I could hear the whistles and crowds cheering when someone scores while playing on the fields close to my house. I can totally hear the parents go crazy and stuff.”
“When I was young, my sister and I would beat my parents to the field to watch the Washington Freedom play,” said Eckerstrom, who attended Matsunaga Elementary School and Kingsview Middle School. “I could just ride my bike to the ‘Plex and get their early enough to watch the goalies warmup. And my parents would come, and we’d sit on Freedom Hill and watch all those games.”
She said her room was filled with posters of soccer stars such as Hope Solo and Abby Wambach, the later played for the Freedom for a few years.
“When I was little I tried to do as much as I could to become a player that could compete at the highest level,” said Eckerstrom. “I remember playing in a final game of a WAGS tournament, and we got to play on the stadium field at the SoccerPlex. It was the first time I had played on that field. It was really cool to be able to play on that field where I had been sat in the stands and watched other people play. That field is amazing. I remember it was awesome and thinking how sick it would be to be a pro and be on this amazing field and having my family and community out here watching me.”
She said she had gotten the opportunity to play on the Maryland SoccerPlex Stadium field once again, when as a member the Penn State team, the Nitney Lions played the Spirit in a preseason game in 2013. “I got to be in goal against the Spirit in front of my family and friends,” said Eckerstrom. “And I remember thinking it would be so cool to play for this team professionally. It was an awesome moment. I made some cool saves in front of my family.
That dream almost came true; Eckerstrom said that the Spirit were interested and wanted to draft her, but in the she was swooped up in the next round by the Western New York Flash.
Eckerstrom will be coming home to Germantown to play at the Maryland SoccerPlex on September 3 as the Flash will visit the Spirit in a 7:00 pm game at Maureen Hendricks Field. “I am looking forward to coming back and playing in at the Maryland SoccerPlex.”
Eckerstrom joins the likes of women’s soccer superstars including Tobin Heath, Crystal Dunn, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press Alex Morgan, and Carli Lloyd in being named the NWSL Player of the Week.
In earning the honor, Eckerstrom made several great saves including a double save. She first dove to deny Orlando Pride’s Maddy Evans, and seconds later a rebound sent back post by Pride’s Jasmyne Spencer. She played all 90 minutes of the game and finished with nine saves on 14 shots, and a clean sheet to earn her second straight professional shut out.
Eckerstrom and the Flash are back in action tonight (Friday, June 17) against the Portland Thorns at Rhinos Stadium in Rochester.
Top: Germantown native Britt Eckerstrom was named the NWSL Player of the Week this week after her performance in the game versus the Orlando Pride on Saturday, June 11. Photo courtesy NWSL.
Next: Britt Eckerstrom playing as a youth in Montgomery County.
Next: Eckerstrom playing as goalkeeper for Penn State University, where she was a captain of the team which won the 2015 NCAA Women’s Soccer National Championship.
Next: Britt Eckerstrom grew up in Germantown. The Northwest alum was named NWSL Player of the Week for Week 8 of the season. She is now a goalkeeper with the Western New York Flash. She is pictured here stretching as part of the Penn State University team.
Photos courtesy Britt Eckerstrom.