Western Nebraska Community College’s Bethany Fuchs came to Western Nebraska Community College from Colorado to play soccer, but has always considered Nebraska a home-away-from-home.
Fuchs, after two years as a Cougar, will continue her collegiate playing in her new home of Nebraska after signing with Concordia University in Seward recently.
“I am going to Concordia University in Seward and I choose to go there because, in a sense, Nebraska is a home-away-from-home,” she said. “I had a few friends that went there in the past. Jose [Fernandez] and Leo [Palomo] signed their last season. It is nice to know some people out there. When I visited the university, I felt like everything clicked for me right away. I knew that was going to be my next home.”
Fuchs said if she wasn’t playing soccer in college at the next level, she wouldn’t know where she would be.
“Soccer has always been super important in my live,” she said. “I don’t know where I would be without it today. Being able to play for at least another two years is definitely a blessing.”
Fuchs came to WNCC from Eaglecrest High in Aurora, Colorado, and Fuchs also had special reason to attend WNCC since her grandparents and aunt and uncle still live in the area where her mom, Vanessa, grew up as a youngster.
“It was super special [this place as a home-away-from-home] because I have a lot of family out there. My grandparents, my aunt and uncle, my cousins, and my great aunt,” she said. “Some people don’t get that, and they don’t get their home-away-from-home-here. I am still comfortable because I still have family I can reach out to if I need help. I was lucky in a sense because my parents went to every single game to support me because their family was out here too. That is something I am going to miss when I go to Concordia because I necessarily won’t have my family out there, but is still Nebraska.”
Fuchs soccer playing flourished her sophomore season. Fuchs finished her second-year on the pitch with the second most goals on the team with eight. Destiny Mueller led the team with nine goals.
The Cougar’s one-two punch helped WNCC capture 13 wins, the second most in school history before falling in the semifinals of the Region IX tournament.
Her sophomore season was a marked difference from her freshman season where she was battling injuries.
“If you compare it to last season where I was fighting injuries, coming into this season I couldn’t of been more excited because I knew I was feeling great, my knee was feeling great, and I said this was my year,” she said. “This is the time I am going to shine. I did exactly that. I think I filled my purpose at WNCC. Playing with the girls this season was just so surreal because they are family to me and I couldn’t have asked for a better team.”
Everything clicked for the Cougar women, too, on and off the court.
“I would say we had a winning season. We just came in with a mindset this season that we were determined to win,” she said. “We were not going to let anything get in our way. The goal was to get to the regionals and we did exactly that. We couldn’t go any further, but it was a definite step up from last season. I hope the girls continue to move forward from here on out.”
Fuchs gets the opportunity to continue playing at the four-year level because of the improvement she made on the pitch. She said it was advantageous to play with so many talented international players.
“I definitely think my game has grown,” she said. “Before coming to WNCC, I only had one style of play and that was basically kick the ball up and chase it. Being able to play with international players like Brazil and the Netherlands, you get the sense of a different style of play and reading the field and how different players work. It definitely takes time to get used to, but I think that was one of our biggest transitions when we all first came here was to be able to connect with each other on the field since we all are from different places, different style of soccer. Being exposed to that definitely has made me a stronger player in every aspect on the field. I feel that will only help me going forward to Concordia.”
A lot of her teammates on the women’s team will be going on to play soccer at the next level as with the men’s team. That is something that makes her happy to see her teammates go on to play and get an education.
“It makes me so happy that they signed because last year I am not sure any girls signed to continue playing,” she said. “To see so many of the sophomores moving forward, I can’t continue to watch them keep playing and see what they do at their new schools. I know a few of them will be playing against each other and it will be interesting to see the outcome with that.”
A lot of her teammates, too, will be going to the NAIA level just like Fuchs, but they won’t play each other unless they get to the national tournament.
Besides Fuchs, other Cougars headed to the four-year level include Thais Nayara to William Carey University, Lisa Haferkamp to St. Thomas in Florida, Caroline Vieira to Cumberland University, Rafaela Ornelas to Judson University, and Rafaella Passos to Bethel University.
Fuchs said she had a good offer from Bethel, too, but didn’t want to take it because it was too far from home.
As much success the Cougar women had last season, the way the spring season ended was disheartening for Fuchs because of the corona virus pandemic. Fuchs said she was looking forward to the spring season after the disappointing end to the regular season.
“That was very heartbreaking when all the corona virus was coming to America. Coach was texting the captains that this game was canceled and this game was canceled,” she said. “It was pretty devastating because after our regular season has ended, the first thing I was looking forward to was our spring season and that ‘I am not done here yet and my time here is not finished yet.’ The spring season was definitely something I was looking forward to as the last farewell goodbye and a sendoff from WNCC. I remember last year watching all the sophomores do that and it was so real for them because it was their final game playing with everyone here, last time playing for WNCC, and I wanted that for myself. I think the last game during the regular season didn’t hit me that my time was done here because I still had the spring season.”
With no spring games and only online classes, Fuchs is still content with her decision to come to WNCC. That won’t change.
“I just want to thank coaches for giving me the opportunity to come to WNCC and play,” she said. “It definitely was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Like I said, it was my home away from. I definitely wouldn’t change anything for the world for coming to this school.”