Wahlen having breakout season in junior year
Jackson Lamar – Contributor
The women’s soccer team has already made major improvements since their previous year. One of the key improvements is their leading goal scorer that comes from overseas.
Johanna Wahlen, a junior psychology major, was born and raised in Karlsruhe, Baden- Württemberg, Germany, almost 4000 miles away from New Haven. Despite the distance, Wahlen is the leading goal scorer with four so far in the year despite not scoring a goal during his first two seasons.
Head coach Adam Cohen said he believes that Wahlen’s attitude is allowing her to flourish and becoming closer to a complete player.
“I think it’s just mentality and optimism and just a positive attitude,” Cohen said. “We always expect there to be a process involve. We don’t expect anyone to come in as a freshman and they’re the finished product. I think what you are seeing with Jojo is that there has been a steady progress with her on the field.”
For Wahlen, it all started in the parks of Germany. Her friends were all playing soccer at the time and she was inspired by her best friend to play.
“I really kinda wanted to do everything she did,” Wahlen said. “When I was little, [soccer] was more like an outlet and I just went there and had fun just running around the field without any tactics.”
Over the years, Whalen has racked up quite the resume. She won the EnBW Oberliga Baden- Wuerttemberg championship with the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim U16 Team in 2014 and won the championship with FC Sand in the Regionalliga Sued in 2016.
“It started to become more important,” Whalen said. “I started to play in higher leagues and the pressure got higher too but still is a lot of fun and is still an outlet.”
Since her time in the United States, the thought of getting an education while also playing the sport she has loved since she was a kid was seemingly too good to be true for Whalen.
“I love how I can combine going to school with playing soccer because I know at home that will be a lot more difficult,” Wahlen said. “Especially since here is so helpful.”
Last season, Whalen played as a defender for the entire year, and did not have many opportunities to score a goal. This season, she started as a forward, where she feels the most comfortable. This switch has benefited the team heavily, allowing more offensive potential and allowing the other members of the team to develop
their game as well.
With the Owls currently ranked sixth in the conference with a 7-3 record against NE10 opponents, Whalen said she expects the team to get into the postseason and hopes to make it as far as possible.
“Maybe even make the NCAA tournament,” Whalen said. “But I guess that’s the goal for every team I guess.”
However, Cohen has not even thought that far ahead yet, as he just wants his team to “to try to be one percent better tomorrow.”
Photo Credit: Palmer Piana