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Front-yard battles shaped a soccer future

March 5, 2019

There was no doubt about Courtney Kosch’s potential on a soccer field.

At the AYSO level, she was already being recruited by a club coach. She and her sister Emily became the two youngest members of that roster. When she grew to varsity age at Scotus Central Catholic, she earned her way into the starting lineup immediately as a freshman.

No matter the level, the competition or the situation, Kosch has always found a way to make an impact. Recently, she officially signed her letter of intent to continue that impact at the collegiate level for the College of St. Mary in Omaha.

It was the culmination of a life in soccer that was forged in the fires of family battles. Even at the NAIA level in the years to come, there has probably never been opponents as fierce as the ones she faced in the front yard a decade or more earlier.

“It’s how I got really competitive. It started against Anthony and Emily,” Kosch said about her older brother and sister. “Eventually, I just had to beat up on them. That’s how I started to like it more. It’s more physical than the other sports.”

Anthony played a year at Northeast Community College before transferring. Emily just finished a career at Nebraska-Kearney.

Mom and dad weren’t always on board with soccer, having little to no experience with the game. But the trio of the oldest Kosch children was drawn to it nonetheless.

Each of them honed their skills out in front of the house in mini-games against each other or in larger contests when friends and neighbors showed up.

There, Courtney learned about toughness, controlling emotions and communication.

Each of the three played a major role in her early development as a player.

“The front-yard battles, it probably made me more vocal. Even just with my siblings, yelling at one another. Just a little two-on-two game, it was about pushing each other to get better and having fun,” she remembered. “I wouldn’t be this much into soccer without my siblings.”

All the intangibles Kosch learned while collecting various scrapes and bruises from Anthony and Emily translated into suiting up for Scotus right away.

She played in 15 games as a freshman and scored a goal. She’s been an integral part of the team since, serving as a midfielder and defensive stopper while playing in 44 games, scoring 13 goals and helping Scotus to the state tournament each of her three varsity seasons.

“She’s been a big player for us every year. The more intense the game, the bigger the fight in her. She just never quits. She’s always going as hard as she can,” Scotus coach Kristie Brezenski said.

“Everyone is always looking to her to do something for us, and she usually comes up big in a big game for us. She’s a big player, she’ll be able to separate herself at the College of St. Mary and do some good things.”

Making the decision for the next level was an easy choice.

Maggie Feehan and Kendra Wiese, former Scotus teammates, committed to St. Mary last year and played for the Flames this past fall. Ever since they took a visit during the 2017/18 basketball season then returned to Scotus practice later that day, the duo had been recruiting Kosch to join them in Omaha.

They had the ear of fellow Shamrock Emily Stutzman as well. She signed two weeks ahead of Kosch, making it four Shamrocks on the CSM roster for next season.

“She leads by example, definitely, but she’s a loudmouth out there,” Brezenski laughed about Kosch. “She’s definitely fun. She’ll talk you up and give you a hard time during a game and during practice. She’s just a fun player, fun teammate, fun player to coach.”

Nate Tenopir is the sports editor for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com