A few days before University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin’s Sarah Hagen heads overseas to play for Bayern Munich, Our Game Assistant Editor Ryan Wood had a chance to catch up with the four-time All-America selection, who recently set school and league records in goals scored (26) and points (61) in a single-season for the Panthers.
1. First off, congratulations on signing your first professional contract. How did it all come about with Bayern Munich? And, what was your reaction when you knew you had a chance to play in Bundesliga?
Playing professional has always been a dream of mine, and in the past two years it has become more of a goal of mine. After our season ended, I knew I wanted to play professionally somewhere, but wasn’t sure where exactly. My assistant coach at UWM, David Nikolic, played a huge role in helping me find the right team to play for. He helped find me an agent who then talked to many different club teams over in Germany. The offer came from Bayern Munich, and I was very excited, but also knew that it was now between them and WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer). The biggest concern for me with WPS was the amount of teams left in the league. I know it’s a very competitive league, and I feel that by going over to Munich, I will be able to make an impact right away. I’ve heard much about Bayern Munich and their program and am extremely excited and grateful for this opportunity.
Finally becoming a professional soccer player feels unreal, and I haven’t even had a practice with the team yet. Having a opportunity like this is something that not many people can experience, and I’m just so thankful that I can experience it.
I arrive in Germany on January 10th and am very excited for the first practice and getting to know everyone. I’m also very excited about moving into the apartment and getting settled in. I’m sure the first week is going to be a challenge, but I know it will be a lot of fun.
It was extremely hard to choose between the two leagues. I’ve been to a few different countries playing soccer, but those trips were only for 10 days. So I think living over in Germany for five months will be a big change for me, but I am looking forward to it. It would have been nice for my parents and friends if I would’ve played in WPS, but I think a few people might still visit me while I’m in Munich.
Yes. I have declared myself eligible for the WPS Draft, and from what I’ve been hearing, I can get picked up from a team after my season with Bayern Munich is over.
Well, being a forward, I hopefully can bring them some goals. I think with my size and ability to finish out of the air will hopefully contribute to the team. More than anything, I just want to be able to contribute and help the team win.
Definitely. Playing with the U23′s has helped me so much. I remember coming into my first couple of camps with them and feeling not really sure if I deserved to be there, but as I kept getting called back, I started to get more and more confidence and belief in myself, which helped me grow as a player. Playing with the best college players in the States and then playing against the some of the best players in different countries really improved my play.
I enjoyed every second of my career at UWM and am very sad to have it end, but at the same time very excited to move on to bigger things. Coming in as a freshman, I wasn’t sure if I was going to start or even be able to have as much success as a did in club. My goal freshman year was to score five goals, and I think I did that in three games. I don’t think anyone would’ve predicted my success at UWM, including myself. However, as each year and season went by, the more and more drive I got to take my game to the next level. I am so thankful that Mike Moynihan and David Nikolic both gave me the opportunity to play at UWM. I think looking back at my career at UWM, the thing that I’m most proud about is our win against Illinois State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. That was our program’s first win in the tournament, and after losing in the first round the previous three years, our team this past year worked so hard to finally get that win.
I actually got Rosetta Stone for Christmas, so I have been trying to learn German, but it has been a struggle. I have a learned a few things, but it is a lot harder than I expected.
I have played in Germany before. It was with the US U23′s and we stayed in Marburg, which was towards the middle of Germany. So I’m not familiar at all with Munich, but I’ve heard so many great things about Munich.