Living a dream come true
Butler grad Schnur happy in pro soccer
By John Enrietto
Eagle Sports Editor
She was 5 years old and wearing the uniform shirt of the first soccer team she played for in the Butler County Soccer Association.
"My dad took that picture," the
Now 24, Schnur is a starting midfielder for Sky Blue FC, the New York/New Jersey franchise in the seven-team Women's Professional Soccer League, which is in its first year.
Schnur recorded two assists this season for Sky Blue (7-8-5), which travels to Germantown, Md., Saturday for a 4 p.m. WPS playoff game against the Washington (D.C.) Freedom. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.
Schnur was the only player to start all 20 regular season games for Sky Blue, leading the team in minutes with 1,751.
"I'm proud of the fact I was able to earn a starting position and even prouder that I was able to play well enough to maintain it," she said. "These games are incredibly physical and intense."
What she wasn't crazy about was the way Sky Blue reached the playoffs.
Needing a win against the Freedom in the regular season finale last Saturday to secure the fourth and final playoff berth, Sky Blue suffered a 3-1 loss.
That meant if the Boston Breakers defeated Los Angeles the following day, Sky Blue would have been left out in the cold.
The Breakers dropped a 2-1 decision and Sky Blue was in.
"It was tough to do, watching someone else decide your fate, but it went our way," Schnur said.
A 0-0 tie against Boston recently put Sky Blue in position to reach the postseason. The team scored only 19 goals in 20 games all year.
Two players, Natasha Kai and Rosana, combined to score 11 of the 19.
"Teams aren't going to score four or five goals a game in highly competitive soccer," Schnur said. "There are world-class players on every team.
"Rosana played for Brazil's national team, one of the best teams in the world. Natasha played for the U.S. team in Beijing. We have players on our team and throughout this league who have won Olympic gold medals and the World Cup," she added.
If Sky Blue reaches the WPS title game, Schnur will have played in a high school state championship game with Butler, an NCAA Division I national championship game with Connecticut and in a professional league title game.
"That would be cool, but it pales in comparison to what a lot of these other women have done," Schnur said.
There are players on her team from Australia, England, Brazil and Canada, along with the United States.
"Seeing the creativity the international players bring to practice — I'm still learning things every day," Schnur said.
Sky Blue must win three road games — Saturday's, Wednesday at St. Louis and Aug. 22 at Los Angeles — to claim the league title.
The WPS season runs from April through August. During the offseason, Schnur plans to get her license in physical therapy and to coach youth soccer.
"I'm living proof of what hard work and aspirations can bring," Schnur said. "Now I'm doing what I've dreamed about doing my whole life: playing pro soccer."