Futsal or soccer, Sawyer Bollinger Danielson has a foot on the ball


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INTERNATIONAL SENSATION. Sawyer Bollinger Danielson is one of 10 athletes selected to play on the US Youth Futsal National team, which will travel to Spain over Winter Break.

The grass of the soccer field, torn by hundreds of cleat-steps, springs under freshman Sawyer Bollinger Danielson’s stride. Sweat beads on her forehead, but she keeps her cool; after all, she’s run this course countless times. They’re down one to two, with only ten minutes left, but Sawyer knows they can make it through with some creative strategies. When all seems lost, she knows to think outside the box and adapt — a skill Bollinger Danielson has used many times in both sports and life.

Bollinger Danielson has been playing soccer since childhood, with the support of her family and teammates along the way. This year, she’s been playing at higher levels than ever before, and as a midfielder on Spartan Varsity Soccer — a change from her usual position as a forward. As a member of Spartan Varsity Soccer, the Minnesota Thunder Academy soccer club, and the TC Sala futsal club, shifting between mindsets and strategies is essential.

“For my club team, I play forward, and for varsity, I played midfielder, which is kind of different… uncomfortable at first,” she said. Nevertheless, as she played more and adjusted to her new placement, the growing pains eased.
Sarah Oppenheim, Spartan striker, defines Bollinger Danielson’s one-of-a-kind presence on the team: “Sawyer is a very goofy personality, a very big personality…” She wasn’t scared of the seniors; she was able to jump into anything.
Oppenheim added (with a laugh), “who gave this freshman the audacity?”

“For my club team, I play forward, and for varsity, I played midfielder, which is kind of different… uncomfortable at first”

— Sawyer Bollinger Danielson

The answer, of course, is Sawyer Bollinger Danielson.

Despite hard work on multiple teams and her efforts to adapt to any circumstance, Bollinger Danielson remains modest about her achievements. “[Being called inspiring] kind of surprised me,” she said with a smile. “I don’t really feel like I do that yet.”

But when she expertly darts and weaves through a crowd of defenders, switching her stride, catapulting the ball into the goal — she inspires all who watch her play.