Kane County Chronicle Athlete of the Week: St. Charles East’s Anika Dodrill, girls soccer, sophomore

St. Charles East's Anika Dodrill

Name: Anika Dodrill

School: St. Charles East, sophomore

Sport: Girls soccer

Why she was selected: In two matches in regional play last week, Dodrill scored three goals, including the game-winning goal in the final minute of the regional championship to defeat South Elgin 4-3. She also had one assist.

Dodrill was selected the Kane County Chronicle Athlete of the Week in an online vote.

Here is her Q&A with sports reporter Joel Boenitz.

You had three goals in the team’s regional matches, tied for the most on the team. How did it feel?

Dodrill: I was very happy with it. I’ve trained really hard this season and in the offseason, so it’s really exciting to see some results. Our team has worked really hard all season to find ourselves and connect with each other, so I was very happy that every player stepped on the field and played their best.

Arguably the most important of those three was the last-minute goal you scored against South Elgin to secure a 4-3 win and a regional title. Walk me through the goal.

Dodrill: I saw one of my midfielders, Tatum Smith, flick the ball over the backline and I saw an opportunity to run and get it. The ball went over I think two defenders and the goalie and I just ran past them and was able to get a touch on it.

And how did it feel to get the goal and keep the season alive?

Dodrill: It was a great feeling. I don’t think anyone wants to go home. They’re ready to keep fighting, and so having that, especially late in the game, it felt great.

Heading into regionals, you scored only two goals for East, but managed to more than double that total in two games. What’s changed for you?

Dodrill: In the beginning of the season, we had a new formation, which is always hard to adjust to and I had more of a role of creating opportunities where other players had more the role of finishing them. But we’ve started to shift more people forward, so I was able to get better touches on the ball.

What got you into soccer, and what keeps you on the pitch?

Dodrill: I started playing when I was 4 years old. My brother played soccer, so I watched him over the years and I was probably inspired by him to play. And then my coaches at a young age were really good and kept it fun and engaging. And then being with a team is probably the biggest thing, like having that support and friendship within a team.

You’ve been on the Saints’ varsity team for two years. How would you describe your time there so far?

Dodrill: I’ve loved it so far. The team is very supportive and especially being one of the younger players over the past two years, having the seniors who support you and the captains who always motivate you and keep you going has been really fun.

What’s it been like being on a team that’s relatively younger while still finding success on the pitch?

Dodrill: There were some difficulties connecting in the beginning, but as we grew more and had more experience, we were able to know our roles more and work together as a team more. It’s exciting for the future because we have a young team that’s going to grow up having played together.

Do you have a specific pregame routine?

Dodrill: I like to listen to music with the team on the bus or on the field. We usually listen to very high-energy stuff like Pitbull and it gets us hyped up for the game, but also relaxed with the ball so we’re not getting it off our foot too quick.

What are some things you like to do outside of soccer?

Dodrill: I love to travel with my family and hang out with my friends. And I really enjoy being active, so like running or playing pickleball and training at Invictus.

Where’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?

Dodrill: We traveled to Spain one summer, which was really fun. We went to Ronda, which is a city there, and also Barcelona, where we got to see Camp Nou (F.C. Barcelona’s stadium).