Husker women’s soccer: “I’m not seeing enough hustle”

Story by Elizabeth Venrick, NewsNetNebraska

Nebraska women’s soccer coach John Walker blew his whistle and stomped his Adidas tennis shoes on the green turf.

“Cardona! Get back,” he screamed at the senior midfielder, with spit spewing from his mouth.

When the team took the field for practice on a crisp Wednesday morning, no spectators watched. The team beat IUPUI on Labor Day and had earned Tuesday off.

Students walked by, too engrossed in their headphones. The passing university workers didn’t have time for a game they mostly don’t understand. The only people who knew or cared that the women’s soccer team had the field were the 33 players, coaches and managers taking part in practice.

To Walker and the players, it didn’t matter if anyone watched. It’s just practice, and they don’t need an audience.

Walker played the role of maestro, conducting his players across the pitch, as he’s done for 17 years. He pushed his team from the second they started stretching until the last push-up was done. For the hour and a half practice, Walker had his hands on his knees, whistle in his mouth, ready to correct a player’s mistake.

And as the team progressed from playing keep-a-way into their various forms of scrimmaging, Walker revved up his comments and critiques.

“Line up,” Walker yelled at the girls. “I’m not seeing enough hustle.”

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