For most Division 1 athletes, careers end with the last game of their senior season. Many former players plan on staying involved with the game, but few plan to pursue a career at the professional level. After a phenomenal career at Colorado College, Molly Uyenishi ’09 found herself living in Sweden and extending her soccer career with QBIK, a professional club team.
As a Tiger, Molly was twice recognized as one of the nation’s top 100 players, received multiple honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, and served as the team’s captain for both her junior and senior seasons. During her sophomore year in 2006, she helped lead the team to the NCAA tournament where they fell to University of Colorado Boulder.
Uyenishi was an integral member of the team and the many personal and program achievements that occurred during her four years helped to put Colorado College women’s soccer on the radar at the national level. After her final season, she knew that she was not ready to be done playing.
During the spring of her senior year, Uyenishi continued training, twice a day, in both individual fitness sessions and team training. This training allowed her to play with her hometown Illinois club team, Eclipse Select, during the summer after graduation. During that summer, she spent time exploring her options at the next level.
“I wanted to continue my career at the professional level. I got in touch with an agent and sent him my soccer resume, and he was able to put me in contact with a few clubs overseas. After some time, I received a contract from QBIK in Karlstad, Sweden,” Uyenishi said.
Uyenishi arrived in Sweden in March 2010 and played with the club for six months.
“Playing overseas was such a great experience. It ended up being more than just soccer,” Uyenishi said. “I was able to see the world while playing the game that I love and meeting people from all over who shared the same passion as I did.”
Playing overseas proved to be extremely valuable to Uyenishi and she was able to see the game of soccer in a completely different way.
“The game there was different in the way that they were very focused on technique and skill, and it was obvious that from a young age, the Swedish players had mastered the techniques of first touch, striking the ball, and other technical skills,” she said.
While there were a number of differences between playing in the U.S. and Sweden, the biggest similarity, according to Uyenishi, is the “chemistry you develop with teammates as you get used to playing together – and even when you don’t speak the language, the game still flows. The competitive atmosphere was also very similar to that of the college level; everyone had a thirst to win every battle and every game whether it was in training or in a real game.”
During her six months in Sweden, Uyenishi experienced a new world of soccer but also knew she was ready to pursue a career in medicine.
Upon return to the United States, Uyenishi moved to Miami, Florida to begin Physician Assistant school.
With 10 months until graduation, she is planning to pursue a career in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
“As a former athlete, I feel as though I can relate to people coming in and out with sports-related injuries,” Uyenishi said.
With a career in medicine on the horizon, she still manages to be very involved with the game whether it be pick up soccer games or cheering on the Tigers and her sister, Katie Uyenishi ’14, every weekend in the fall.