Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Return home feeling like ‘Groundhog Day’ for transfer

For college freshmen, adjusting to the academic and social life is a challenge. It's their first semester away from home, learning the college schedule and still finding time to hang out and meet new friends. For first-year college athletes, combining the rigors of practice with adjustment away from home can be a difficult transition.

For University of Wisconsin women's soccer player Sheri Ferron the adjustment has been doubly difficult — she's had to go through the adjustment period twice. And the second time has been the charm for the sophomore.

Growing up 70 miles east of Madison in Brookfield, Ferron decided to play soccer further from home to become more independent. Although Wisconsin did make a recruiting try for her, Ferron settled on the Big East school Seton Hall, located 14 miles from New York City in South Orange, New Jersey.


Although the Pirates went 7-7-4 last season, Ferron did not enjoy her time in the Big East as she was barely utilized by the Seton Hall coaching staff, playing in only 13 games and scoring a single goal. After their season had concluded, Ferron knew that this wasn't the right place for her and requested a transfer.

"I got my release between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year," Ferron recalled. "I knew that I wanted to look at other schools. So when my release became official in February, I had no idea where I wanted to go. I knew Seton Hall wasn't a good fit. I looked at mainly Wisconsin, UW-Milwaukee and Northwestern, but had really no clue."

Despite her displeasure in New Jersey, Ferron learned a lot in her first year of collegiate soccer and knew that the skills she picked up would help her tremendously for whichever team she chose to play for next.

"I learned a lot while I was there and obviously it wasn't a good situation for me, I wouldn't take it back because I learned so much about myself," Ferron said. "I learned a lot about what I want out of a team and what a good team was made out of. I didn't find that [at Seton Hall]. A lot of that team aspect has become really important to me."

When head coach Dean Duerst learned of Ferron's decision to transfer, he gave his recruiting pitch another shot at landing the talented ball-striker. This time, he knew that Ferron wanted to be closer to home and play a style that incorporated and depended on a team-first aspect rather than the player's individual talents. With that thought in mind, Duerst made the push for Ferron to come to Madison.

"I thought she would be a great fit in our system and the way we play," Duerst said. "I had known her for awhile. We tried to get her to see the idea of playing at Wisconsin, being from Wisconsin, and it's not back in the Milwaukee area where you are from. With the two of us having very good phone conversations, we're happy she came."

Senior midfielder and team captain Kara Kabellis was thrilled as well, citing the fact that although Ferron would be new to the Wisconsin system, she already had the conditioning, work ethic and games under her belt and could step right onto the field and become a factor.

"Knowing you're having transfers coming in, you know that they have had experience at the college level," Kabellis said. "It's reassuring that they have some time under their belt, they know the demands of it and what to expect. Sheri has excellent work ethic, smart on the ball and fits in well with us."

Although she had finally chosen a school and settled in once again, the nerves where definitely there during the first week of team workouts in the summer. Not only was she nervous about fitting in with an entirely new squadron of top-tier players, Ferron was really worried what would happen if this situation also didn't work out for her.

"During that first workout, I had a lot of reservations about 'What if this doesn't work out like the last time,'" Ferron said. "I was really nervous about it. With any campus, transferring is a huge risk and the negatives are always in proportion to the awards. It just happens that it worked out awesome."

The one thing that made the transition easier for Ferron was what her new head coach had told her: that the Badgers run an offense that incorporates a healthy dose of skill combined with creativity for the betterment of the team. While at Seton Hall, Ferron found herself unable to showcase her skills in a system that was entirely one-dimensional. When she finally started practicing with the Badgers, she quickly began to adjust and excel on the field.

"[Wisconsin has a more] fun style of soccer than just kick and run," Ferron said. "I like playing creative soccer and to play with the players around me. I like to take people on and that's something that Duerst stresses and something I am trying to do more. Because [not only] does he like it but it helps the team a lot."

"With how we're playing and our personnel, she works well with Taylor [Walsh] and Allison [Preiss] up top in terms of combining and movement with those guys," Duerst said. "One of her greatest assets is timing and being in the right place at the right time. Her timing is really good within her system."

Through 15 games this season, Ferron has had some of the best timing of all the Badgers. Ferron is second on the team in goals (4) and points (12) and leads the team in assists (4). What stands out among Ferron's stats is that her four goals have come on only nine shots for a astronomical .444 shooting percentage. While Ferron has only started games half the season, she routinely finds herself in the right place at the right time.

"Players only need a few chances," Duerst said. "She is in and around at the right time and it only takes a touch. She's found a knack for finding the right area to get it by the keeper. She's actively touching the ball. We call those players finishers. You don't need to be the big shooter and rip off the powerful shot to find a way to get the ball in the net. It really boosted the team in terms of production when she began getting those goals."

Her success can also be contributed to her work ethic, as Ferron has put in a lot of time developing her game in terms of frustrating the opposing defense and finding her teammates on the field.

"She'll work hard and pressure the defense with the other forwards," Kabellis said. "She sees the game really well, and she knows running off the ball where everyone is. She's learning how to play with everyone and is adjusting really well."

Although she has only been playing with her new team for three months, Ferron looks like she's been playing with the Badgers for years, developing that connection with the senior forwards that have led to a solid season thus far. For someone who thought she didn't want to be a Badger, things have certainly turned out well for the Wisconsin native.

"I like being close to home and it's nice to have my family come to games," Ferron said. "It's obviously very different than where I was last year. They were only able to come to one or two games. When we play in Milwaukee and around the Midwest, they can come and watch me play.

"Wisconsin was [always] a better fit for me," Ferron added. "I really never pictured myself here but then I started learning about it, it seemed like a good fit for me."

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