Iowa soccer freshman Gianna Gourley makes quick impact

Through the first six games of the season, freshman forward Gianna Gourley is tied for second on the team in points.


Megan Nagorzanski

Iowa forward Gianna Gourley fights for possession during Iowa’s match against Illinois State on Sunday, September 1, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Red Birds 4-3.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

Freshmen don’t usually climb up the leaderboards of their team, but that is the case for forward Gianna Gourley and the Iowa soccer squad. 

So far through the first six games of the season, Gourley is tied for second on the team in points with six. She got to that number thanks to two goals and two assists, all within far fewer minutes played than her teammates with similar amount of points. 

“I think that just going into the games, every time I get on the field, I just try to make one significant play to help the team,” Gourley said, adding she does this by sharing the ball and moving it around. 

Her teammates reflect the same sentiment, as well. 

“I think she’s done an awesome job,” senior defender and captain Hannah Drkulec said. “She also comes in working hard, and every time she’s gotten on the field she’s made an impact, whether it be a key pass, an assist, or a goal. She’s impacted the game the way she should.”

Head coach Dave DiIanni described Gourley as creative kid and goal scorer. 

Gourley had a stellar high school career. As a senior at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, she was named the 2019 Nevada Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the Year, as well as being named a TopDrawerSoccer High School All-American.

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Despite these accomplishments, Gourley still has had to take time adjusting to the next level and a new program that expects her to have more skills. 

“We know she can give us something in the attack, but this team is founded off of being a good defended team,” DiIanni said. “That’s just part of the process; she needs to spend her time with video, spend more time understanding what her role is and where the ball is and the tactics of defending. But she wants to get better, and she has gotten better.”

This type of style is different than what Gourley experienced with her club team.

“I was more of a player that used kind of sit back and go with my club team,” Gourley said. “Here, it’s more upbeat, so just trying to get in the mindset, [the team] has helped me change.”

Not only has Gourley made an impact with her stat line, she has also brought a positive work attitude to each game and practice, which the team really appreciates.

 “… [She] is probably one of the more popular freshmen, because she’s always in a good mood and she cares about how the team does versus herself,” DiIanni said. 

Gourley is committed to becoming a better player in the program. 

Even with her previous successes, she still wants to improve wherever she can. 

“Obviously, [I] want to improve confidence wise,” Gourley said. “[Confidence] is something coming into the program I’ve kind of struggled with and maybe just improve on that, improve technically, improve defensively ­— just every aspect of the game.” 

The future is bright for Gourley. DiIanni said that the more she gets comfortable, the more success people will see out of her. 

“To come in and just continuing to build and get better as a player, I just think that’s amazing,” Gourley said.