Olympic champion Nicole Barnhart visits MV campus


Ray Uyeda

On a typical school day lunch, there are those who drive off campus to the *finest* eateries around. There are those who find themselves standing in the quad, stretching their legs after hours of sitting, wearing proudly the title, “Quad Freshmen.” Lastly, there are those who dedicate themselves to the betterment of Mountain View High School’s community: the clubbers.

On Wednesday, September 26th, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club (FCA) was graced with the stunning presence of the Women’s National Soccer team Goalkeeper and Olympic Champion, Nicole Barnhart. To give a sense of the turnout, the room, more crowded than what the generic, run-of-the-mill club could hope to attract at even their biggest events, was struggling to find enough chairs to suffice for the number of athletes, benchwarmers, Christians, and non-religious students alike. Member Marie Recine said of her visit that she “appreciated that she came…[and] was honest.”

The opening questions, as orchestrated by Lisa, The Highway’s High School Pastor, remained strictly soccer oriented. Surprisingly, the soft spoken and unassuming 30 year old, who is content under the scrutiny of millions, slowly revealed how her religion played a part in her career. “Faith plays a large part of morale and spirit…when I feel more connected to God—that’s when I play better.” Barnhart has known soccer almost as long as she has known faith. “I was always outdoors and competitive,” reported Barnhart, who interestingly enough, started up as a forward. “I fell in love with it,” Barnhart says of the game, and she later went on to play at Stanford University.

Four years later she became a member of the National team and eight years after that, Barnhart can now say that going to the Olympics provided a “huge honor to be able to represent [her] country.” Though an Olympic champion, Barnhart didn’t play. As in many sports, she has continually competed with fellow goalkeeper, Hope Solo, for the #1 slot. “I’ve accepted my role as #2, I mean you play your role on the team [as] best you can.”

None-the-less, Barnhart, as she should be, is proud of what she’s accomplished. As someone who started out as part field player-part goalkeeper, she is able to say that her accomplishments have landed her such honors as a Pac-10 Conference player from 2002-2004. “[It’s] the best job in the world,” said Barnhart, and “standing on the podium and hearing the anthem played” made it all worth it.