Mackenzie Steinfadt is one of the smaller girls soccer players in the area. The senior defenseman doesn’t let that hold her back, however, as this season is her fourth on the Holmen varsity soccer team. She’s captained the Vikings to a 4-3-2 record so far this season.

‘Squirt’ as she’s called by everyone in the conference, is intense. The 5’0” senior plays a physical game, crashing through anyone that attempts to put the ball on goal. The name comes from the baby sea turtle in Finding Nemo, who is also small.

Her soccer career began at the age of four, when she began to play thanks to her uncle. She’s also played hockey most of her life for the Onalaska girl’s co-op.

Steinfadt typically plays left back for the Vikings, but has played nearly every defensive position for her team this season. When possible, she also takes direct and corner kicks in the offensive zone.

She said her size isn’t a disadvantage.

“I always have been the smallest player on the field, so I’m used to it,” Steinfadt said. “I think being a hockey player really helps me be aggressive on the field. I also spend a lot of my off-season in the weight room building up muscle and getting strong.”

Head coach Kyhl Berndt said ‘Squirt’ sets herself apart.

“Even though she’s a smaller girl, everybody on her team looks up to her I think. She’s intense and people take that the wrong way sometimes but it’s because she wants so much and she refuses not to get it.”

“She is a big player on the field,” continued head coach Khyl Berndt. “She’s scrappy and aggressive and she is a big part of what we do.”

Part of that aggressiveness comes from Steinfadt’s passion for the game, which is also huge despite her size.

“The game brings me so much joy and I know that if I ever have a bad day I can go to practice and be surrounded by people who will cheer me up. I love our team and coaches—we really are one big family,” she said.

But after talking about her, it was business as usual for Steinfadt.

“I have high hopes for our team. Coming off of last season we have a lot of unfinished business to complete and important roles to fill. Being it’s my senior year, I want to leave my mark out on the field. I’m going to give everything I have to make this season one to remember for my teammates and coaches,” she said.

Whether she knows it or not, she’s already left quite the mark on Holmen soccer.

“She is such an asset for this team,” said Berndt. “She’s a little girl with a little nickname, but she drives us every day.”

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Benjamin Pierce is a news reporter for the River Valley Media Group working for three weekly newspapers that cover Bangor, Onalaska, Holmen, and West Salem in the dairy state. He also covers La Crescent in Minnesota and can be reached at 608-791-8311.

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