Starting as a freshman in college soccer is rare. Starting after making a position switch is impressive. But freshman Amy Klippert of the women’s soccer team is doing both.

Jonathan Duggan
Freshman Amy Klippert is the only freshman to start all eight games this season. (AARON HANDLESMAN/Daily)

The Newport Beach, Calif., native usually played forward in high school. But when Michigan coach Debbie Rademacher recruited her, she saw that Klippert had potential to blossom as a defender.

“I had seen her play defense in a couple films, so I knew it wouldn’t be completely foreign to her,” Rademacher said. “I believed that because of her versatility and speed, that defense was a position better suited for her.”

Klippert – the only Michigan freshman to start all eight games – has solidified a defense that has allowed multiple goals just once (against No. 1 Notre Dame).

Senior captain Katelin Spencer has also noticed Klippert’s outstanding play. Thanks to the freshman’s adjustment to defense, Spencer has been able to move from defense to midfield.

“Her level of confidence as a freshman has been really impressive,” Spencer said. “Fundamentally, she is very confident to the ball, can spot teammates easily, possesses great speed and is not afraid to tackle hard.”

Although others perceive Klippert as having the demeanor of a veteran, Klippert herself is still riding high about starting as a true freshman.

“I was actually stunned that I have been able to start as a freshman,” Klippert said. “This team is so deep that I had figured I would be riding the bench.”

Klippert has impressed everyone with her solid play, but she said that the adjustment from West Coast high school soccer to Midwestern college soccer wasn’t easy. Klippert indicated that the physical play at Michigan differs greatly from the “fancier style” she learned in California.

“And here at Michigan, they don’t necessarily care about all the little technical nuances of the game,” Klippert said. Rather, they just care that you put in a hard effort and you get the job done.”

Klippert has definitely been getting the job done for a team that has recorded five shutouts in its first eight matches, including a 1-0 win against No. 17 Arizona on Aug. 27. As the Wolverines move on to the Big Ten season, Klippert has set some personal goals that will help the team succeed.

“Overall, I would just like to help lead the team to victory as much as possible and help make this a memorable season for the seniors,” Klippert said. “I want to get better with my feet skills and get more experience with the physical nature of college soccer.”

Michigan is looking to improve on last year’s sub-par 3-6-1 Big Ten record last year, and with Klippert’s help on defense, it has a good shot at doing so. The team wraps up the nonconference schedule tonight at 7 p.m. against Oakland at U-M Soccer Field before opening the Big Ten season at Penn State on Sunday.

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