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Rock Canyon High School's Student Newspaper

the Rock Online

Rock Canyon High School's Student Newspaper

the Rock Online

Rock Canyon High School's Student Newspaper

the Rock Online

Nicki Fraser’s Rise to the Top

Soccer player Fraser’s journey to becoming a UCLA commit and representing Team U.S. around the globe
media by courtesy of Nicki Fraser
Nicki Fraser ‘24 defends the ball at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India Oct. 2022. Fraser has represented the United States internationally twice in her soccer career during seasons U-17 and U-19. “National team trainings are similar but usually sessions are more controlled and have more of an overall tactical emphasis on either defending or attacking,” Fraser said.

This year, senior soccer player Nicki Fraser won Colorado High School Soccer Athlete of the Year in 2023, was Offensive Soccer Player of the Year for Rock Canyon in 2023 and was named 2023 CHSAA all-state first team for 5A girls soccer. Fraser also received an All-American award for club soccer and an all-conference award in U-15, U-16 and U-17. 

Fraser is also known for her and her father’s relationship, Robin Fraser, head coach of the U.S. Rapids. They both have strong backgrounds in soccer and she is known for Following in His Footsteps, a YouTube video made by U.S. soccer featuring the father-daughter duo.

And yet, this year, Fraser decided to play high school soccer no more. 

“I chose not to play high school soccer this year because I did not think it was the best thing for me when thinking about preparation for college,” Fraser said. “I wanted to spend this springtime being really focused on training and challenging myself in a different environment. I thought that this way I would be more equipped to adapt to the college soccer landscape.”

Fraser committed to play collegiate soccer at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). As of now, she plays for Real Colorado and has also represented the U.S. by playing for their 17-under and 19-under national teams.

At the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India in Oct. 2022, Nicki Fraser ‘24 punts the ball towards the goal. Fraser now plays for the U-19 women’s national team, where she received a bronze medal at the Pan American Games Oct. 2023. “The goal sequence started with a long ball from central defender Nicki Fraser that turned the Argentinian backline,” U.S. Soccer said. (media by courtesy of Nicki Fraser)

“The [UCLA] coaches had reached out to me first out of any school and established an early relationship with me, which I really appreciated. They also seemed really invested in me, something that I felt like I couldn’t ignore,” Fraser said. “Then, of course, my thinking was what could be better than living in Westwood? As soon as I stepped on the campus, I just felt that it was the school for me.”  

Throughout the school year, Fraser balances both teams and goes to school full-time. When she’s not playing games, winning medals or traveling, Fraser practices almost every single day for about an hour and a half on average.

“An average practice with my club team is typically right after school and lasts for 90 minutes. We start with a dynamic warmup and then a ping, which is a keep-away in a small square with our whole team with two people in the middle. Everyone only has one touch and the people in the middle are just trying to touch it and then two new people go in the middle. Sometimes our coach joins in and it becomes really fun. Then we either do some passing exercises or go into a shooting and finishing drill. We finish off playing ourselves to big goals for about the last 30 minutes of training,” Fraser said. 

During her club and national soccer career, Fraser played varsity her junior year coached by retired varsity head coaches Mathew Henbest and Jeremy Newman.  

“Within the first 15 minutes, you could tell she was exceptional, but I didn’t get to know her until her junior year. I got a chance to get to know her kind of seeing what she was off the field,” Henbest said. “She always struck me as being very mature, humble and kind. Then when I got the chance to coach her, she’s very competitive and holds herself to high standards.”

Nicki Fraser ‘24 heads the soccer ball in a high school girls varsity soccer game against Heritage High School in the spring of 2023. Fraser chose to play only one year of high school soccer because she focused on her club and national teams. “I think soccer is special because it’s a team sport, where all 11 players on the field are working together towards the same goal. The bond you have with your teammates really cannot be replicated,” Fraser said. (media by courtesy of Nicki Fraser)

After 15 years of coaching the Jaguars, Henbest stepped down from coaching this year. 

The best part of coaching at RC was always the players, but I also had a great staff of coaches and a supportive administration. However, if I was going to step down at some point, I figured this was likely to be the best time since I knew I was going to leave the program in good shape for the next leader. So, I decided to cherish every moment of what I knew was going to be my final year,” Henbest said. “Incredibly, it turned out to be a phenomenal season filled with so many great memories that eventually led to a state championship game. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to my coaching career.”

On Sept. 13, Fraser committed to UCLA. On Nov. 9, Fraser did a collaboration post on Instagram with @uclawsoccer for National Signing Day to publicly announce her commitment. 

“I am most excited to be in a new environment. I love home and my youth soccer experience, but I feel like I am ready for a new challenge. Also, between academics and athletics, I cannot wait to meet a bunch of new people and learn more about myself,” Fraser said. 

While playing college soccer, Fraser plans to continue with her U.S. team as well. 

“I am looking forward to being able to see just where it takes me. I feel like my career is still just in the beginning, so I don’t have anything big ahead of me except college,” Fraser said.

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