On this date exactly one year ago, the Muskegon Risers and Muskegon Community College women’s soccer teams made history by playing the first-ever women’s soccer game in Downtown Muskegon’s Mercy Health Arena. The game was competitive through the end and provided a unique platform for women’s soccer, which proved highly beneficial for two Jayhawk players, Josie Bos and Savana Driesenga. Both Josie and Savana were offered a scholarship to play at Northern Michigan University when NMU’s head coach, Jon Sandoval, recruited them after watching film of the arena game.
“We were excited to get the chance to play against the Risers, both outdoors and indoors for their first-ever games. It was a great opportunity for us to really challenge ourselves and demonstrate that our players are quality soccer players.” MCC Head Coach, Jeff Lohman said, “All of our players at MCC could play at 4 year schools if they choose and being able to compete with the Risers, a team filled with D1, D2 and NAIA players confirmed that for us.”
From the beginning, Josie Bos came into the Muskegon Community College program from Zeeland West as one of the program’s quiet leaders. Her strengths on and off the field were important for the team’s success in her two years in the program. Josie is a player that will be an asset to Northern with her versatility and smart play as well as her ability to be a catalyst for positive team chemistry on and off the field.
Statement from Josie Bos:
“After playing one of my personal best seasons as a Jayhawks and ending with a Regional title under the teams belt, I had this soccer high of wanting to play more and win. After the season ended, I was starting to search and reach out to coaches to further my athletic career for my last two years. I went on visits and practices with schools but none of them really stuck out to me. When coach Jeff reached out to me and asked to play in this exhibition match, I was super excited to play one last game with my teammates but also play the first ever women’s game in the arena. The exhibition game itself was full of excitement, energy and nervousness. But I loved all the energy the fans, sports announcers and players were giving off, it was such a blast. Even though we lost, I think the whole team could agree with how fun the match was. It was so fun to see little girls there at the end that were wanting our signatures and pictures, because I remember being that young and thinking how cool it was to be with college soccer players. A few short days later, I received a phone call from the head coach of Northern Michigan talking about him showing interested me through the film. After a few phone calls we scheduled a visit up there. We went up and visited the beginning of March when things started to shut down because of Covid. Luckily I was able to see the university, hangout with teammates and get the feel of the town and school. After coming back from the visit, I was hesitant to commit because of the distance. However, I really enjoyed the atmosphere of everything. All the girls were very welcoming and I felt confident that coach Jon Sandoval would be the best fit for me to continue on my soccer journey. Never would I imagine that I would be playing soccer at Northern, but I don’t think I would be in this position without my experience playing with MCC and with the Risers.”
Savana Driesenga from Zeeland East came into the Muskegon Community College program as a target forward/defender, but in her second year the program had a need for a second keeper and she took up the challenge. In one year, training with Coaches Jen Jordan and Gabby Klemp she developed into a strong keeper who now gets the opportunity to continue playing at Northern as a keeper. That says a lot about Savana’s coachability and talent as well as the strong coaching that was done by Jen and Gabby.
Statement from Savana Driesenga:
“Playing in the game itself was something I’ll remember for the rest of my life, being the first women’s game played in that arena. The experience and the fans and that entire day was so fun and exciting and memorable. I wasn’t planning on playing anywhere after MCC, just because I thought i was ready to focus on my education. Jeff Lohman had asked me to come back and play in the game, and I was hesitant to at first but decided it would be a fun way to end my soccer career. The game was amazing and even though we lost there’s nothing I’d change about that night. I was at work the following day and Jeff pulled me into his office and said the Northern Michigan coach had seen some film from the game and contacted him asking where I was playing next year, and after Jeff had told him I wasn’t going anywhere, coach Sandavol had asked to talk to me. So, I reached out to him and we communicated though text and had a few phone calls, i did a lot of research on the school, soccer program, and Marquette area, and ended up deciding to schedule a visit. We were lucky to be able to get up there for a visit just before COVID shut everything down, and I’m super glad I did. I fell in love with the town, the school, and the environment that Jon had established within the team (especially for this being his first season). I committed the night I returned home from the trip, and it was the most difficult yet most rewarding decision I’ve ever made. I’ve never been far away from home, and moving 7 hours away wasn’t easy, but I’m so glad I did it. I love the campus and the education I’m getting there, and the team and coaching staff are amazing. I had always thought playing college soccer was such a stretch for me and i never thought it would be in the cards for me, and now playing at an NCAA Division 2 school is just a dream come true. None of this would have ever been presented to me if it wasn’t for MCC and the Risers, and I will forever be grateful for that.”