By Sean Marraffini
The small town of Milford, Delaware may soon have its own resident who will trade the Buccaneers colors of maroon and gold for those of the red, white and blue of Team USA, hopefully at the senior level.
Milford 2010 high school graduate Nikki Parsley has some steps to go before she gets there however. While working to get a spot on the international stage, she has taken her dominating playing skills to Northwestern University.
Parsley began playing field hockey before the 6th grade., encouraged by her parents. After good coaching, coupled with Parsley’s strong work ethic and athleticism, she began to develop into a strong player.
Her father recruited Coach Kathleen Fluharty (known to the field hockey world as Coach KK), to instruct Parsley and help develop her talents.
Parsley believes that Fluharty (who also played her field hockey at Northwestern), taught her more than possible.
“It goes beyond just how to play field hockey,” Nikki Parsley said. “She taught me how to read the field read the play and anticipate what was going to happen next.”
“One thing that always served Nikki well is that she’s never satisfied,” said her father Don Parsley. “She believes in herself and her abilities.”
Before gracing the field at Milford, Parsley honed her craft by joining two developmental teams. The New Jersey Intensity and the Gotta Love It Oranje, which are two of the strongest youth field hockey travel teams in the country.
“I draw my motivation from the fact that I love to compete.” Nikki said.
Motivated she is. Her time with the youth teams allowed her to claim the all-time Milford High scoring record with 64 goals.
In her freshmen season at Northwestern Parsley played in 20 games, scoring 8 goals and recording 5 assists. She scored one goal in the playoffs and was named to the Big Ten tournament team. In her sophomore season at Northwestern Parsley played in all 21 games, scoring ten goals which was enough for second on the team and ninth in the Big Ten.
After the 2010 season Parsley played for the under-19 national team and was eventually selected for the under-21 team. Parsley plans to continue her success with Northwestern.
“My real goal is for us to make it to the NCCA tournament final, and win it.” Parsley said.
During her time away from the Northwestern team Parsley is fighting for a spot on the United States Senior National team. She will be attending tryouts early next year and should know shortly after if she has made the squad.
“We will be working with the Senior team, during the week of camp,” Nikki said. “There’s going to be a lot of other talented and motivated girls but getting to put on that jersey, they’ll be no other feeling like it.”
Parsley hopes her time with the under-21 team will benefit her. Playing against some of the world’s best youth has prepared her for playing at the highest of levels. With much success in her short career, Parsley certainly has garnered a lot of positive press and her positive mindset will take her further in her playing time.
If she makes the Senior National team, she hopes to be on the squad that will play in the Summer Olympics in 2016 which will be played in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Soon, Milford may have its own, goal scoring, jet setting Team USA member they can call a “hometown hero.”