The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa women’s soccer’s Josie Durr reflects on personal, program growth

The midfielder put up career bests in goals and assists, helping lead the Hawkeyes to a second Big Ten title.
Daniel McGregor-Huyer
Iowa midfielder Josie Durr interacts with teammates before a game between Iowa and Northern Iowa at the UNI soccer field in Cedar Falls on Sept. 11, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Panthers, 6-0. Durr played for 54 minutes.

Midfielder Josie Durr, a key player for the Iowa women’s soccer team for seven seasons, is embarking on a new chapter in her life. Graduating from the university, she is shifting her focus to a career as an exercise specialist.

Durr, who had a remarkable year for the Hawkeyes during the 2023 season, now lives in Arizona with former teammate Sara Wheaton. She works in a physical therapy clinic and said she doesn’t see her soccer career continuing.

“If anything, it’s just going to be pick up stuff here and there, maybe some local little six-v-six,” Durr said. “Sara and I have talked about getting back into it a little because we’re still athletic, still mobile, so might as well do all we can. But nothing too crazy, nothing too serious.”

Even though her soccer career may be over, Durr’s time on the pitch wearing black and gold helped her figure out what she would do next. Her passion for soccer helped her narrow down her future goals.

“I think [it] gave me a lot of perspective to look for in the future,” Durr said on her personal growth at Iowa. “Finding your passions, finding things that excite you and things that make you happy — try and develop those and work towards those.”

Durr also formed lasting friendships with teammates like Wheaton and New Zealand international player Samantha Tawharu. The opportunity to travel and grow those friendships after playing together has left a lasting impact on Durr and made her time at Iowa much more valuable.

“The experience as a whole was something that a lot of people don’t get the chance to go through,” Durr said of the unity within the team. “I am just grateful for every step and everything that happened. Everything we went through, the team and individually, to kind of get me where I am today.”

The bonds she formed off the field translated into significant success on the pitch. While Durr was on the team, Iowa women’s soccer accomplished its most successful stretch in program history, winning two Big Ten Tournament titles and twice making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

In the 2023 Big Ten Tournament final against Wisconsin, Durr was the hero for the Hawkeyes when she scored a penalty kick in the first half to give Iowa a 1-0 lead. That score remained the same through the final whistle to give the Hawkeyes their second conference title in four years.

With the Big Ten title in hand, the Iowa women’s soccer team played its first NCAA Tournament game at home. The team set a new attendance record with 2,639 spectators in the 2-0 win against Bucknell on Nov. 10.

Iowa lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Georgia 3-2, but Durr witnessed the growth of the Iowa soccer team firsthand.

Durr spent an extended amount of time at Iowa, with two redshirt seasons and an extra year due to COVID-19.

Durr’s redshirt freshman season, the first year she earned significant play time, the Hawkeyes went 8-7-3 with just four wins in the Big Ten, missing out on post-season play.

“Maybe we weren’t very good; we didn’t play very well,” Durr said of her first years in the program. “Then by the end of [my career], we’re making it to the NCAA Tournament and with Big Ten Championships. If you trust in the process and you’re willing to put in the work and grow as a team, you can make major strides.”

Despite losing Durr and defender Samantha Cary, two key contributors for the team, the Iowa soccer program is set to reload and have another solid fall season in 2024 in the new look Big Ten.

Durr pointed to freshmen Sofia Bush and Millie Greer as two players who can take up the mantle.

“I think they’ll continue building off of what we have done in the past couple of years,” Durr said. “It’s just going to get better for them. I think they’re in a really good spot.”

Durr added that she “grew up a lot” and “matured a lot” during her time with the team and sees the same potential in the younger players.

“I just kind of went with the whole ‘it’s your last year, leave it all on the field’ mentality,” Durr said. “Don’t hold back. Just kind of give it all you got and see what happens, and it happened to work out for me. I mean a lot of those things I’ll never forget. Scoring in the Big Ten Championship will always be one of my better memories.”

In Durr’s final season with the Hawkeyes, she scored a career-best seven goals and two assists in 20 games played. She finished her Iowa career with 12 goals and four assists in 88 appearances in the fall schedule.

“I was always nervous to get hurt in previous seasons,” Durr said. “This year, I was like, I got to give it all, and if I get hurt, that’s alright. If I make it through and I play well, that’s alright too. I knew I didn’t have any more eligibility, so I just had to give it my all and see what happened.”

Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni could tell that Durr was approaching her final season in a new way from the start.

“Last fall was a different Josie I’ve ever seen,” DiIanni said. “All her friends that she was really close to were gone, and she just kind of fell in love with the game again and played with no pressure. She really befriended a lot of people on the team and was kind of the silent leader.”

DiIanni also said some players take an extra year or two to become comfortable and consistent on the pitch.

“I had such a positive experience at Iowa,” Durr said. “I used soccer as my passion and wanted to do it in college. I had such a good experience, and if you find something you love and you stick with it, it’ll make things a little easier for you in the future.”

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About the Contributors
Isaac Elzinga
Isaac Elzinga, Sports Reporter
Isaac Elzinga is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass communication. This is his first year working at The Daily Iowan; he also works as a producer for 1600 ESPN a sports radio station in Cedar Rapids.
Daniel McGregor-Huyer
Daniel McGregor-Huyer, Photojournalist/Videographer
Email: [email protected] Daniel McGregor-Huyer is a photojournalist and videographer at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior majoring in cinematic arts with a certificate in disability studies. He has worked with the DI as a photographer and videographer for two years.