MISSOULA — Kerri Hanks is a lot like the rest of us. She took to Twitter to dis Johnny Manziel as he freefell in the NFL draft. She allowed her now 10-month-old son to become the center of her universe faster than you can say Greyson Nicholas. And she can’t wait to spend some time this summer in western Montana.
Except she’s nothing like you and me. Where to start?
She is one of only four players in the history of Division I women’s soccer to twice win the Hermann Trophy as the nation’s top player. And that makes her the only athlete in Notre Dame’s storied history — in any sport — to twice be named their sport’s national player of the year.
She finished her collegiate career with 84 goals and 73 assists to become one of just three players in NCAA history to join the 70-70 club, the Fighting Irish went 92-10-3 during her four-year career, and she is one of 23 women’s soccer players to ever be named All-American four times.
Still not convinced?
She led the nation in both goals (22) and assists (22) as a sophomore, she once scored goals in 11 straight matches, and she ended her career at Notre Dame in 2008 holding 67 school, Big East and NCAA records. Oh, and she won a Women’s Professional Soccer title in 2009 with Sky Blue FC.
And she’ll be coaching your soccer-playing children this summer if you sign them up for Montana’s camp that runs July 16-20.
“I always knew of Kerri. Everybody in Texas knew about Kerri. She grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and was a legend,” says UM coach Mark Plakorus, who was coaching at TCU in Fort Worth when Hanks returned to the area following her brief professional playing career.
“She knew those professional leagues weren’t going to last, so she came back and started coaching around the area. We heard she was back, so we said, Hey, would you like to be involved with TCU?”
She joined TCU’s staff in 2010, in what would be Plakorus’s final year at the school before he was hired at Montana.
They stayed in touch, even as Plakorus moved west and Hanks, now Petersen, moved east to Gainesville, Fla., where her husband, Nic Petersen, is the Florida track and field program’s jumps coach and where she spends her days doting on Greyson.
“Anytime you can have someone who has played the game at her level be around younger players and even interact with our own players, that’s a good thing,” said Plakorus.
And that’s only the start of the coaching talent Plakorus will have on hand.
Vijay Dias won a pair of national championships — one as a player, one as a coach — at Indiana, and Colin Clarke was a men’s assistant coach at Tulsa when Plakorus passed through in 2004 for a season before moving on to TCU.
Clarke, from Glasgow, Scotland, signed his first professional contract at the age of 14 and played professionally in the English Soccer League for 17 years. He was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s 2009 National Assistant Coach of the Year.
“And we’ll look to bring in other men’s and women’s college coaches as well,” said Plakorus. “Our advanced camps are not all about us. It’s about making sure the kids who come to camp get exposure to other colleges, because there are a lot of opportunities out there.”
For more information on Montana’s soccer camps, visit GrizzlySoccerAcademy.com.
— Montana Sports Information