Johnson looks back on soccer career at NIU

Ed Rietveld

With three regular-season matches left and a possible conference tournament appearance looming, the careers of NIU’s women’s soccer for four senior’s are quickly coming to an end.

One of those seniors is midfielder/forward Shelbi Johnson, who so far in her career as a Huskie has had five career goals and seven career assists, including two goals and three assists through NIU’s 15 matches this season.

Johnson said one thing stands out to her compared to where she was at the start of her NIU career.

“I would say my confidence on the field,” Johnson said. “I’m more willing to take people on and more willing to take, you know, some risky shots versus in the past couple years, I’ve been a little timid in the past.

You know, since I was playing in the back a little bit and when I was up top I was still a little timid and I think I’ve definitely gotten some more aggression and just been more aggressive on the ball when it’s at my feet.”

Coach John Ross said there are a couple reasons why Johnson is one of the leaders on his team.

“I think one is she’s a genuine person and you know it’s something that the kids gravitate towards,” Ross said. “And you know she also leads by example on the field and in practice by working as hard as she can.”

This season, NIU has scored four goals of corner kick opportunities, which Johnson often takes for the Huskies. Ross said Johnson is a big reason for the Huskies success this season on corner kicks.

“She can serve a quality ball,” Ross said. “And you know, if you want to be dangerous on corners you have to get the serve, that’s the first thing that you need and that starts with her,”

Johnson said she feels with Ross and his staff at the helm, the future looks bright for the program.

“I definitely do,” Johnson said. “Coach Ross and you know Christie [Chappell] and Connor [McKee], they know what their doing. They’ve seen the game, so I trust the program with them.”

Johnson said she cannot believe her career at NIU is almost over.

“No, it flies by,” Johnson said. “You know, I swear yesterday I was a freshman and that was four years ago, you know? So, it definitely flies by and it’s really hard to believe.”