For the past 7 seasons, Delaney Watson, 16, and Jennifer Turnek, 17, have been training with Coach Kristian Powell for hours upon hours each week, on and off the ball. He has pushed them to the limit, only to push them even further. The hard work, grueling hours of training, and unwavering dedication has more than paid off for these two high school Juniors, as they have both recently made a verbal commitment to play on the Women’s Soccer Team at Boise State University - a Division 1 college located in the heart of Idaho’s capitol. Under the instruction of Head Coach Jim Thomas, and Assistant Coaches Ed Moore and Maite Zabala, Watson and Turnek will continue their soccer careers together.
Having both joined Northwest United at U11, Watson and Turnek are currently on Coach Powell’s U17 team, where they have experienced a lot of success with their teammates. The team has won 4 Washington State Cups, 3 Premier League Titles, and were Semi-Finalists in Nationals. These two girls were also part of the team that won the Donosti Cup in San Sabastian, Spain – something all young select soccer players dream of doing.
“Northwest United is a family to me. All of the coaches and players are super supportive – it is a great club to be a part of,” says Watson, who has been playing soccer for 12 years. Turnek, who has been playing for 13 years, says the same thing: “The coaches and teammates are family to me. They have taught me everything I know today. The wonderful coaches actually cared and put time into me as a player.” Through their commitment to the game and their persistence in training hard with the tools Northwest United has to offer, these two have made this Club incredibly proud.
On their work ethic, Coach Powell says: “Both girls have great dedication and drive for the game – that’s the difference that has seen them hit the levels they now play at.” Watson, who plays Center Back and Holding Midfield, talks about her first year with NWU. She received very little playing time and stayed on the bench most of the time. Instead of letting this conquer her, she used it as fuel for her fire. “I was not going to settle for little to no playing time. I loved the sport and was not going to quit, so my parents and I set up private training sessions with Kristian three times a week along with team trainings two times a week. Kristian pushed me in every way possible…” Watson began seeing results very quickly. At a young age, she was selected for the US National Pool and also became a PSPL Surf Academy State Team player. She also received the honor of being Team Captain. “She has done a great job keeping the team dynamics good and balanced. She is a very grounded girl,” Coach Powell says of his long standing Captain. If you have never seen an example of where determination and perseverance can get you, Delaney Watson is a perfect example.
The same can be said about Jennifer Turnek. Playing at Attacking Center Mid, Turnek was given the chance to try out for the PSPL Surf Academy four years ago. She says that it “opened many doors for [her] and helped [her] meet new people who could take [her] even further in the college recruiting process.” One of the most notable accomplishments Turnek has done is her invitation onto the Philippines’ Women’s National Team, not just as a player, but as one of the starting eleven. After an intensive three-week closed training camp in Manila, the capitol of the Philippines, Turnek was offered a spot on the team. In the long run, this will lead her to prepare for the Word Cup qualifiers and Olympic Qualifiers in the next few years. "It's been a pleasure coaching such an unbelievably motivated athlete. I'm very proud as we have watched her grow into a fantastic player here at the club..." Powell says of his player.
When asked why they chose Boise State, they each had similar answers: great academics, a great soccer team that plays in their favored style, and a great location. That’s the perfect trifecta! They are both excited to live somewhere new, but still be generally close to home where they were both born and raised. Turnek plans to study Sports Med, and further herself in the Medical Field. Her dream job is to work as a Trainer, and then eventually work her way up to being a University Coach. Watson also plans to study a field in health science, such as Kinesiology or Nursing.
As these two come closer to their final year of high school, they keep themselves busy with soccer, school involvement such as running start or leadership class, and homework. They each play for their high school Varsity Teams – Turnek at Oak Harbor and Watson at Burlington-Edison, and they each contribute their time and talent to other players in Northwest United. Coach Powell has great confidence that these two girls will see much success in the next phase of their soccer careers - “At the level of play these girls are at, in places like the Surf Cup in San Diego and other top showcases, they have shown to be comfortable at any level.” We are thankful to keep them for one more year, but when the time comes we will be sending them off with well wishes and all the luck the in world as they continue to achieve their dreams.