Genevieve Sauers (right) will play soccer for Idaho State next year. (Courtesy photo)

Northwest College sophomore and 2018 Cody graduate Genevieve Sauers is NCAA Division I-bound for college soccer.

“Words can’t describe it,” Sauers said. “I’ve wanted to play Division I since I can remember.”

In mid-November, Sauers committed to continuing her soccer career at Idaho State University in Pocatello. She will receive an academic full-ride scholarship.

“The fact that they’re going to pay for all my school made it so much easier,” she said.

Sauers is the first Cody female soccer player to play at the Division I level since Crystal Umphlett played at the University of Wyoming in 2007.

“It gives me the chills,” Sauers said. “I’m just so grateful for the past coaches I’ve had and my family helping me.”

The Bengals of ISU compete in the Big Sky Conference, featuring teams like the University of Montana and Sacramento State.

“A lot of girls aspire to do that here,” Cody High School Athletic Director Tony Hult said. “It’s kind of breaking down that barrier for them.”

Sauers attended a tryout event at ISU in November.

“With bigger schools like that they don’t typically recruit you unless they’ve seen you play so it was kind of nice how it worked out,” she said.

Playing inside an enormous indoor turf facility with 12,000 seats and about 150 other girls also vying for a roster spot, Sauers was offered a scholarship less than a week after.

“It made me think like holy crap, this is real,” Sauers said of the playing experience. “The team was so welcoming, that really helped.”

She said having already played two years at the collegiate level was also a big factor.

“Playing two years at the JUCO level really helped me prepare and get ready,” Sauers said.

During her time at Northwest, the team did not collect a single win during her freshman campaign but earned four wins this last season. She finished the season with five assists.

After being named a captain her sophomore year, she was pushed into a new leadership role.

“It was a difficult season,” Sauers said. “I was glad I made something out of it.”

She spent the last few months looking into playing opportunities at schools around the country.

“I’ve been really blessed lately,” Sauers said. “It’s been a really stressful semester so it was nice to top it off with an offer like this.”

Sauers will come into an ISU program that has also been struggling in recent years. The team is coming off a 2-14-3 season.

Sauers doesn’t seem concerned about any of that and thinks the team will have a rebound year with a strong incoming class of recruits and a new field opening on the campus as well. She’ll also play at a new position, moving to center back on defense after playing forward at Northwest.

“I think we’re going to have a great year,” Sauers said.

And most importantly it’s an opportunity to continue her soccer career at the highest college level while likely pursuing a bachelor’s degree in sports nutrition.

“I’ve been busting my butt since I was 13,” Sauers said. “No days off, working and lifting. Soccer training has really paid off, I’m just very grateful.”

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