Soccer may not be the most popular sport in the United States, but every couple years, Americans flock to their televisions to watch the World Cup, men's or women's depending on the year. We are currently entrenched in the madness that is the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015, and as fans and players from all over the world flock to Canada, one former Buckeye soccer player is among the athletes honored to participate in the global event.
She might not be playing for the United Sates, but this Ohio State stand-out is proudly representing the Switzerland women's national football team. Having played for a few European clubs in her teen years, Dickenmann wanted to try a new adventure, one that would allow her to explore the world and suit up as a Buckeye. She graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business, and the decision to play in the states has earned her a spot in the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
While at Ohio State, Dickenmann was a four-year starter who was named the national freshman of the year in 2004 and a first-team All-American. She was named all-Big Ten Conference all four years, and was a three-time academic all-Big Ten honoree and a four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete. She helped the 2004 Ohio State team advance to the NCAA Elite 8 and to a school-record 19 wins. During her time as a Buckeye, she set the Ohio State single season records for goals (13), assists (12) and points (38) and also ranks first in career assists with 32, second in career points (89) and sixth in career goals (27). Dickenmann was the first Buckeye to be named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list, the award going to the national player of the year.
Lara shared some thoughts on her time spent as at Ohio State on her website:
"Ohio State University was my first team away from home. But when you play for a college in the US it is much more than just about soccer: academics are very important and it is very hard to describe in words what it means to be part of such a big institution. Playing at OSU I learned more about myself than I ever have in my life. Naturally because I was far away from home but also because everyday, excellence was being asked of you. As much as it was a physical challenge for me with long and intense trainings, it was a mental challenge to keep up the motivation to go out on the field everyday and to leave everything I had out there so I got to know what my limits really are."
Dickenmann returned to Europe following graduation and has played for Olympique Lyonnais (a French association football club based in Lyon) ever since. She's helped her team win seven (7!) straight French Championships starting in 2009 and won the French Women's Cup four straight seasons from 2012-2015.
She describes contributing to making French league history on her site:
"In June 2010 we prolonged our French league title so we were there again to challenge for our first European trophy and in May 2011 at Craven Cottage we made history and won our first ever European silverware. I even scored the second goal in the UWCL final against Tubine Potsdam at Fulham."
Despite a successful tenure with the French league, she has since chosen to take her talents to VfL Wolfsburg of the Frauen-Bundesliga in Germany following the World Cup.
In between successful regular seasons, she is also a valued member of her national Swiss team; playing on an international stage, she is currently one of the veterans at 29 years old. She leads the team with 40 international goals scored and 100 international caps (matches/games). A midfielder, she found the net a team-high 11 times in 10 qualifying matches as the Swiss reached the World Cup for the first time.
Dickenmann and the Swiss team will take on Ecuador tonight at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.