College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

This Week’s Free Sudoku
This Week’s Free Sudoku
This Week’s Free Crossword
This Week’s Free Crossword
This Week’s Free Sudoku
This Week’s Free Sudoku
This Week’s Free Crossword
This Week’s Free Crossword

Beyond the Pitch: An Insight on the Journey of Anna Odisho

Sophomore Anna Odisho reflects on her time at the College of DuPage along with how the women’s soccer program affected her life on and off the field.
Sophomore+Anna+Odisho+runs+with+the+ball
Rachel Wagner
Sophomore Anna Odisho runs with the ball

Despite facing the reality that her time as a Chaparral is coming to an end, sophomore forward Anna Odisho has showcased her talents, maintain a leadership role for her teammates, and set the standard high during her two-year journey at the junior college level. She has allowed herself to make an indelible mark on the College of DuPage women’s soccer program and be regarded as one of the most standout players in the program’s history.

This past 2023-2024 season, Odisho led the team with 27 goals and 10 assists after starting all 17 games for the season. Notably, the COD forward finished the season fourth in NJCAA Division II women’s soccer in total goals scored. After finishing her junior college career with 41 goals and 13 assists, Odisho was named All-Region 4 to conclude her time at COD, an accolade that is given based on a vote among region coaches.

Sophomore Anna Odisho and Freshman Kim Martinez celebrate together after scoring the third goal against Triton. (Rachel Wagner)

During her first year at COD in 2022, Odisho’s expectations and drive for success as a freshman out of Lake Park High School limited her full potential on the field. Despite leading the team with 14 goals in her first year, Odisho believed she had more to offer for the Chaparral program.

“This past season, I felt like I showed what I am capable of on the field,” said Odisho. “[My first] season, I’ve been too hard on myself and too scared of not doing the right thing. This season, I felt super present and went to every game with the mentality of whatever I bring today is enough.”

Like many collegiate athletes across the country, soccer is more than just a sport for Odisho and holds a special place in her life as a get-away outlet from the chaotic world of a student-athlete. For many student-athletes, challenges of maintaining the “student” part of the name arise once teams start hitting the road for away games and preparing for games through daily practices. For Odisho, being able to spend time with her friends within the team gives her motivation to maintain a balance.

“Soccer is a very safe place for me where I can empty my mind and step away from the stressors of my life,” Odisho said. “Balancing being a student and athlete can be very difficult the majority of the time, but it is super rewarding. Staying on top of assignments while we’re traveling in-season is the most difficult. It’s cool being a student-athlete because you can get a team full of friends and can lean on each other for support.”

Going into her second year at COD, Odisho was named a team captain by head women’s soccer coach Matt Hanna. Hanna is fully aware of the potential Odisho possesses and looks forward to seeing her showcase her talents at the highest level. Hanna also seeks to bring players like Odisho into the program to continue the success of building up a positive culture within the team and earn awards to highlight the quality of the program and the players themselves. 

“Anna lives and breathes the game,” said Hanna. “She is open to feedback and always wants to discuss the different parts of her game. She improved on a strong first year with the program, and I think [All-Region 4] is a deserved individual accolade for someone who has pushed themselves to improve and be consistent. It’s vital to have players like Anna who help bridge the gap between the playing group and the coaching staff. She’s been very successful here and is an example of how you can come through our program, continue to build your game, and have opportunities at the other end.”

Outside of the field, Odisho has established special friendships and bonds with her teammates and coaches. Lewis University commit Caitlin Yurkovich earned All-Region 4 honors alongside Odisho and served as the team’s goalkeeper this past season, starting all 17 games. Before reuniting as teammates at the College of DuPage, Yurkovich and Odisho played club together during their time in high school. After playing alongside Odisho at the collegiate level, Yurkovich has developed a different level of respect for Odisho as both a person and player.

COD women’s soccer poses for a picture. (From left to right: Hallie Meachum, Alyssa Basford, Anna Odisho, Kim Martinez, Caitlin Yurkovich, Joli Weigandt, Sabrina Cox, Julie Leilani Garcia, Camila Alvarez, Melissa Ibarra, Aline Gutierrez, Tania Miranda, Veronica Helma and Adamaris Lara) (Rachel Wagner)

“Being able to earn All-Region alongside Anna was something I was very proud of and happy that we were both able to be recognized for work we put into the season,” said Yurkovich. “Anna was great as both a team captain and a teammate. She was always encouraging the team to work hard and set the tone for how our training sessions should look and the intensity we should be practicing at. We would often spend extra time training together to focus on parts of our game we felt like we needed to improve on.” 

As a JUCO athlete, limited resources and exposure compared to four-year institution players have been obstacles for Odisho to adapt to and plan for the future in hopes of continuing her athletic career. After arriving at COD, Odisho was surprised by the amount of resources the junior college had to offer compared to other JUCO programs. Despite this systematic barrier, Odisho plans to stay focused and is fully aware of the steps she must take to reach her career goals.

“The biggest shock for me was how resourceful COD is and you can tell everyone cares about you here and wants to see you succeed,” said Odisho. “COD is a community college, but they have the standards of a high-level college. I’m looking to continue playing soccer after COD [and] my goal is to play at the Division 1 level. Being a JUCO athlete is not easy, you have to promote yourself and work hard 24/7. Even when you don’t have any opportunities, it’s important to remember that you can create opportunities for yourself.”

Sophomore Anna Odisho kicks the ball. (Rachel Wagner)

Going into fall 2024, Odisho strives to keep her professional aspirations of playing at the Division 1 level and later pursue a professional soccer career. The COD forward has been in communication with multiple schools at a variety of different collegiate levels but remains patient in her decision on where she will call her next destination home.

“I’ve had a few schools from all levels reach out to me, but I am still uncommitted,” Odisho explained. “I’ll be attending Illinois State University next fall. Being able to play professional soccer is in my plans for the future. My final piece of advice [for JUCO athletes] is to take every situation you step into as it is and not as you wish it to be.”

More to Discover