Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Driesse Brings a Bit of Wayne Hills to U.S. Team

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Driesse Brings a Bit of Wayne Hills to U.S. Team

Article excerpt

Nickolette Driesse carries a piece of Wayne Hills with her everywhere she goes. And she's going places.

"I feel like you build a family at Wayne Hills," said Driesse, a 2012 graduate. "We are all just so connected and everyone wants the best for you, and that feeling makes me want to give the same thing back. I keep everyone from Wayne Hills in my heart."

Driesse, now a rising sophomore at Florida State, was named Wednesday to the United States U-20 World Cup soccer team that opens play Aug. 5 at Edmonton, Alberta.

Her road to the 21-person squad was not easy, but the 19-year- old Driesse has greeted every challenge with tireless effort. This is a young woman who would show up before school at Wayne Hills to run laps, and at age 3, she was already showing skills with a soccer ball.

"She would come home from training when she was 9 to 10 years old and then do laps in the pool," said her mother Giselle. "This has always been her dream."

It was a dream that also seemingly passed Driesse by. After a stellar freshman season at Florida State, where she started 27 games, including the NCAA final (UCLA beat the Seminoles, 1-0, in extra time), she was invited in December to national team camp.

She was named a reserve and was not on the team as it played qualifiers for the U-20 FIFA World Cup.

Then she was invited to a weeklong camp in Seattle that opened July 9. It was one last chance to make the team before the biennial World Cup.

"I knew I needed to prove myself. Just being here is an honor, putting on the practice jersey is an honor," said Driesse. "I came here and just gave it my all; and if I didn't make it, I knew I had left everything on the field."

U-20 coach Michelle French must have liked what she saw, because she called Driesse into her office and offered her a spot. Her first phone call was to her mom in Wayne.

"She called me on Wednesday and was just crying," said mom Giselle. "She was like, 'Oh my God, I made it. I made it. I can't believe it.' "

"I did start to get choked up," said Driesse, "because it's an honor to represent my country and my town."

Driesse is being used as a holding midfielder in the U. …

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