Iowa State graduate transfer Courtney Powell brings experience to Hawkeye soccer

Powell will suit up in the Black and Gold to honor her father, who died in February from COVID-19 complications.


Grace Smith

Iowa teammates talk to each other before a corner kick during the Iowa women’s soccer match v. Penn State at the Iowa Soccer Complex on Thursday, March 25, 2021. The Nittany Lions defeated the Hawkeyes 1-0.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

Courtney Powell thought her days of playing collegiate soccer were over after the fall 2020 season at Iowa State.

Now, she’s preparing for her fifth season of collegiate soccer, but her first with the Iowa Hawkeyes.

After Powell’s fiancée was accepted into Iowa’s physical therapy program, she said she was already planning to move to the Iowa City area after she graduated as a Cyclone in May. Then, Powell’s father, Scott, died in February from COVID-19 complications.

That, she said, gave her the spark to play once more so she could honor and dedicate the final season to him.

“So, it kind of worked out that Iowa was looking to add some players with experience and forwards, and I was already heading out that way,” Powell said. “It was just kind of meant to be.”

As a native of La Porte City, Iowa, Powell’s parents would drive her to Cedar Rapids to give her the opportunity to compete against better teams and travel around the country playing soccer. As a player at Union High School in La Porte City, Iowa, she led the state in goals in 2014 and 2015.

Throughout her soccer career, Powell said she could count on one hand how many times her father missed a game. After the 2020 season at Iowa State, Powell said her father encouraged her to take advantage of the opportunity to play one more year.

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“I kind of replayed that in my head a lot after he had passed away and right before I made the decision to play again,” Powell said. “I just know that he’ll be proud and he’s going to be happy and watch me play once more.”

Powell led the Cyclones in the 2019 season with eight points and four goals as she started all 18 games. In 2018, she tied for second on the Cyclones with three goals.

“She’s a great athlete,” Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni said. “Has electric speed and is very technical. She’s somebody who can stretch the game and get it behind the backline and ask anybody who watched us play last year we didn’t have a lot of that.”

During the 2020-21 season, the Hawkeyes didn’t score until their seventh game. Iowa went on to score 11 goals in 17 games.

The Hawkeyes are returning 17 players and all but one starter in the fall. Hawkeye soccer is made up of mostly underclassmen, with 13 players coming into the 2021 season as freshmen, redshirt freshmen, or sophomore.

“I think with my experience in the Big 12 for four years, I think I can bring a lot to this team,” Powell said. “They’re athletic, and I see my assets as athleticism, being fast and strong, so I think I can add to it there, and just my leadership. I’ve been around for four years now, and I think I can provide some leadership to this team as well.”

Over the summer, Powell is working out at Total Elite Soccer Training in Coralville, where she’s focusing on one-on-one soccer. She will start practicing with her new Hawkeye teammates on Aug. 1.

The Hawkeyes start the season on the road against DePaul on Aug. 19, and their home opener comes on Aug. 26 against Iowa State for the annual Cy-Hawk Series.

“I think it’ll be fun to play them,” Powell said. “Maybe we’ll have certain strengths with knowing certain things that they do and how they run the ball and whatnot, but it’ll be fun, and it’ll be competitive. Iowa State’s always been a good rival, and I hope we win and beat them.”

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