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Richard brings international experience to Badgers

first_imgSenior defender Joana Bielefeld said the Badgers’ backline had no problem to adjusting to a new goalkeeper in Richard, who played in Italy and Japan with the U20 World Cup team.[/media-credit]After playing with the Under-20 Canadian National Team this summer, goaltender Genevieve Richard brings both experience and confidence to the Wisconsin women’s soccer team.The junior Badger traveled to Japan in August, competing for her home country in the FIFA U20 World Cup. In July, Richard also participated a three-week pre-tournament camp in Italy. Reflecting on her experience, Richard said she gained new perspectives on her skills and the game as a whole.“It’s always been a good opportunity for me to be able to train with the best players in the country,” Richard said. “We focus more on details and it just allows me to see the game on a different angle and get different opinions from different coaches. I think that is the best part about it.”Richard’s most memorable experience in international play came when she witnessed the team come together in its game against North Korea. Though the team ended up losing and did not advance past group play, the effort and dedication Richard said she saw in her teammates is something she will never forget.“It was the game that was deciding whether we were moving through,” Richard recalled. “Players decided to come together and just give everything they’ve got. I think it was very inspiring to see the effort and the will to win.”Competing with the Canadian team forced Richard to miss most of the Badgers’ preseason camp, which set her back from the starting spot in goal at the beginning of the season. However, after a rocky 1-3-0 start in the Big Ten for UW, head coach Paula Wilkins decided to change the lineup. Richard earned her first career start for Wisconsin on Sept. 30 against Ohio State, and she has remained in goal since, playing against Nebraska Friday and at Green Bay Monday night. Senior defender Joana Bielefeld said the change came without any major issues for the back line.“Genevieve has been a part of the team for three years now and in practice we are shooting against different goalies and always playing with the different goalies,” Bielefeld said. “It is definitely easy to fit her right in with the starting lineup.”Against Ohio State, Richard recorded a shutout as the Badgers tied the Buckeyes in a scoreless game. At home Friday, the goaltender helped bring her team to overtime with four saves. Just over one minute into extra time, the Huskers knocked the ball into the upper corner of the goal past Richard’s hands, a shot Bielefeld said any goaltender would have trouble stopping.Having a goaltender like Richard who is talented both in the air and on the ground gives the defensive line playing in front of her plenty of confidence. At 5-foot-11, Richard’s height advantage makes saving balls in the air her best skill, and she is also a vocal asset to the defensive line, saying communication is key to keeping everyone on the same page.“For me I have always been a loud (goalkeeper) and I’m sure if you talk to the defenders they will say the same thing,” Richard said with a laugh. “It is just important … to give your teammates information constantly, to be able to adjust to what is going on in the game because there are always changes.”Although Richard was preoccupied with her role on the Canadian team this summer, she was able to attend the first week of preseason camp and bond with the freshmen players. Now in her third season at UW, Richard said returning to play alongside her Badger teammates was no problem.The Canadian grew up in the small town of Saint-Bruno, Quebec. She began her soccer career at the age of four, wanting to play in goal, but her self-admitted hyperactivity as a child led her away from defending the net to a goal-scoring role until the age of 10. It was then, Richard remembered, that a former coach encouraged her coach at the time to put her in goal. And since then she said she hasn’t left the net.When the time came to begin looking at college programs, several things attracted Richard to Wisconsin, including the university’s strong academic programs.“I think what sets Wisconsin apart from other universities are the staff – from the trainers to the lifting coaches to the professors,” Richard said. “I think people here are very passionate about what they do, and they make it so simple.”Having a Canadian coach, assistant Tim Rosenfeld, helped make her decision easier. Richard said after speaking with both Wilkins and Rosenfeld, she decided Wisconsin was the right place to go.“I remember talking to Paula and Tim and they said they were rebuilding the program and I saw it as a challenge and I was willing to take it,” Richard said.While most of her time outside of class is spent playing soccer, Richard is passionate about studying global health. A pre-med or pre-pharmacy student, she hopes to find a way to help others around the world.“I look forward to volunteering abroad, that is my interest right now,” she said. “I think for me, I was thinking more undeveloped countries like China … and India as well.”last_img

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