Ally Thimsen didn’t even have to think about it.
When her best friend asked her to go with her to Canada and take in the Women’s World Cup, she already had her bags packed.
The former Jefferson Academy soccer star hopped on a flight earlier this month, destined for Winnipeg and has been living a soccer fan’s dream.
Thimsen and Co. took in the United States’ opening pool play win over Australia and then stuck around four more days to watch the Stars and Stripes play to a 0-0 draw against Sweden.
“Then we are going to road trip it all the way to Vancouver and watch their last game (against Nigeria) in pool play,” said Thimsen, who just finished her freshman season at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.
And it certainly hasn’t just been a vacation, either. Ever the student of the game, Thimsen has been watching the game with a sharp eye and picking up on things she will be able to take back to school.
“I am watching the best players in the world and there is just so much you can take from them,” she said. “Their aggression, their off ball movement and what they do on the ball — especially as a forward — there is just so much you can take from it.”
Thimsen didn’t take long to be a vital contributor to the Thunderbirds and coach Becky Hogan. In the team’s third game this season against Cal State-Bakersfield, Thimsen bagged two goals in a 5-0 rout of the Roadrunners and was named the Big Sky Conference player of the week.
But like most players making the transition from high school to the next level, the transition wasn’t exactly a cake walk.
“It was a really good year. But college sports are definitely hard and it definitely kicked my butt,” said Thimsen, whose father Eric is the track coach at Jefferson Academy. “But at the same time, it was one of the best experiences of my life and I think it went really well.”
The Thunderbirds finished the season 7-7-3, including 4-4-2 in the Big Sky Conference, and Thimsen would add one more goal late in the season against North Dakota to cap her first year with three goals and one assist.
“You have to find your new role and adjust to new coaches and a bigger team, which is hard at first,” she said. “And just the intensity of it all, and high school sports are definitely intense, but it is nothing like college. You are on scholarship, so it is certainly a more business-like atmosphere.
“Every practice is treated like a game and every game is intense and if you don’t play well, your playing time is done and your starting spot can be taken by anyone of the team. So that was the biggest adjustment and getting used to that pace for the entire year long, because there is no offseason.”
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