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Nicole Van Dyke

#129 Nicole Van Dyke, Transfer to CSU

The headline streamed across the top of the Stanford University photo as its Division 1 women’s soccer team raised the gold trophy said it all: “National Champs!”

As an assistant coach, clinching a 25-0-1 season with a 2011 National Championship title was a very special moment in my coaching career and something I was privileged to be a part of. All doors open different opportunities, and College of the Desert accomplished that for me.

Had I not gone to COD, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.

The year I spent at COD playing soccer and attending school was fundamental in my future as a student, player, and now, as a coach.

My true passion was soccer, and I had hoped to play at a four-year institution. Due to limited exposure to recruiters at the high school level, the dream did not come to fruition right away.

It was at College of the Desert, where things started to fall into place. I continued to develop and gain confidence as a soccer player. Outside of the accolades of MVP and (season) career record of 26 goals, it was fun and exciting to be part of COD’s inaugural soccer team.

After my year at COD, I was recruited by several four-year universities and awarded with a full scholarship to California State University, Bakersfield. At CSUB, I was the leading goal scorer and still hold the record: “Most Goals in a Single Season, 17.”

After graduating, I played professional soccer in Sweden, received my master’s degree in education, been an assistant and head coach at both my alma mater and California State University, Stanislaus, and am now the assistant coach at one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

I’m grateful to COD, and whole-heartedly believe my year there opened up wonderful opportunities. I would have gone on to school and graduated, but it was College of the Desert that kept me connected to a sport I’m passionate about, one that helped me excel on a personal and professional level.