Riverton soccer gets big boost from standout Emmalee ChristensenOct 12, 2023 01:33PM ● By Josh McFadden
Though the Riverton girls soccer team has had some ups and downs this season, one constant has been Emmalee Christensen.
The senior midfielder led the team in scoring during the regular season with nine goals, including three games in which she scored twice. She has 20 goals and 21 assists in her time at Riverton.
Her soccer career, though, started long before.
“My parents put me in soccer when I was about 4 years old,” she said. “I watched my older sister play soccer and decided that I wanted to try it out, too. I started playing competition soccer at the age of 10, and my love for soccer grew through the years playing.”
Her decision to start playing and stick with it has benefited the Silverwolves. Riverton was 7-8 overall and 5-6 in Region 2 heading into its final regular-season game at home against Copper Hills on Sept. 28. She has been a fixture on the field for the Silverwolves in wins and losses. However, the team’s record isn’t what she will remember or think about fondly as she moves on. She has most enjoyed the relationships she has made along the way.
“I love playing soccer for Riverton because of the team morale that’s been built here,” she said. “My best friends are the soccer team. We push each other, we lift each other up and I think the one thing our team has said so much this year is to work for each other. Not just working for yourself but working for each other as a team to improve.”
As a player, Christensen has been a team leader and a go-to weapon. She said her biggest strengths are distributing the ball and setting up her teammates for success.
“I work my best to be a motivator and leader while giving it my all on the field,” she said.
Riverton coach Paul Mozier has enjoyed working with Christensen and has nothing but praise for her.
“[She] drives the team forward and is a tireless worker on the field,” he said.
Certainly, Christensen loves the game. She said it’s a place she can forget about outside distractions and have fun. But she also said playing soccer allows her to connect with other people and make friends.
“One of the things I enjoy most about the game is the team aspect,” she said. “I end up being with my teammates more than anyone else, and they’ve truly become my best friends. Another thing that really keeps me playing is the good mental state and happiness it brings me. Anytime I go play, I know I can clear my mind and leave other worries behind for two or more hours and just have fun.”
This season, Riverton has had some key injuries that have hampered the team’s progress a bit. Out of this hardship grew the chance for other players to step up in larger roles—something Christensen, as a leader, noticed and appreciated.
Christensen has also worked hard to make herself a better player over the years. She has become a more well-rounded offensive player and is someone that opposing teams have to look out for. Extra time on the practice field and the dedicated support of others has helped her achieve this goal.
“Something that I have been working on is being a bigger threat on offense, taking more accurate shots and being in on every part of the attack,” she said. “It’s taken a lot of time and hard work at practice and also on my own to get to where I am today. It has also taken the dedication and support from my parents.”
Christensen’s older sister, Belle, who was her inspiration in starting to play soccer, has been a role model for her. Belle Christensen graduated from Riverton in 2022 and tallied 46 goals and 15 assists during her time with the Silverwolves. As a senior, she helped lead the Silverwolves to a state title. Emmalee Christensen also credits her parents for helping her become a better player, teammate and person.
“I’ve looked up to my older sister, Belle, my whole life,” she said. “I followed her around and even followed in her footsteps to become a soccer player. She’s been such a good example to me; her work ethic never went unnoticed by me, and her constant willingness to push me helped shape who I am today. I also look up to both my mom and my dad. They’ve taught me what it means to be a good example of hard work and dedication for others. They’ve also taught me how to support and be a leader on the field, at home and in school.”
Christensen will graduate next June and end her high school career. However, she hopes to be able to play soccer in college. She also plans to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After concluding her mission, she intends to attend dental hygiene school. λ