Tigers’ Beckman heading to Upper Iowa for soccer

Brittany Beckman is the latest Princeton High senior to sign off on an athletic and academic scholarship when she agreed to play for Upper Iowa University women’s soccer next fall. A signing celebration was held for her on Thursday, March 13 in the high school media center.

Tiger senior Brittany Beckman with her mother/coach, Heidi Finstad, at the March 13 scholarship signing ceremony for Upper Iowa University women’s soccer.  Photo by Greg Hunt
Tiger senior Brittany Beckman with her mother/coach, Heidi Finstad, at the March 13 scholarship signing ceremony for Upper Iowa University women’s soccer. Photo by Greg Hunt

“When you watch someone who is really gifted at something, Brittany really stood out in the way she struck the ball, the way she handled the ball and the way she interacted with her teammates,” began Dist. 477 activities director Darin Laabs at the ceremony. “One of the cool things about her throughout her career is she hasn’t wanted any attention– just loves to play soccer and loves to be with her friends. Those are really great attributes for somebody, and that’s what we will miss about her.”

Beckman was a four-year starter and two-year captain for Tiger girls soccer, a program that kept growing in skill level and recorded playoff victories the past two autumns. Her junior season she racked up an amazing 19 goals and 16 assists which included precision execution on corner kicks and free kicks.

“Last summer, Brittany had a horrific injury to her knee. Due to quick decisions by her coach and mother, Heidi, Brittany was able to have surgery and start rehab sooner,” said Laabs. “Her drive to get back on the field was amazing. Her first game back she had a hat trick in the section win over North Branch that was just an uplifting sight to see.”

Brian Diaz is the head coach for the Upper Iowa Peacocks whose team went 15-5 overall and 12-3 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). He is initially looking at Brittany to play defense for his team, said Beckman.

“I like playing defense, and the knee is holding up well after playing in a couple tournaments this winter,” said Beckman. She described the Upper Iowa campus in Fayette, Iowa, “It’s small. It actually feels a lot like Princeton. I wanted to stay in a smaller area. Fayette is pretty small, too.”

On the Upper Iowa soccer program, she added, “They were really successful last year, so I’m excited to see if I can get in and help. The girls are really nice. I got to meet a lot of them at camp.”

Coach Finstad mentioned that since the Peacocks are in the NSIC, Brittany could face Princeton grad Naomi Kolhoff who was a junior on the St. Cloud State women’s soccer squad last year.

“We thought Brittany had decided on Montana for academics. And then Upper Iowa came on to the radar, and she went down to do their ID camp. She fell in love with the campus, the coaching staff, and her new teammates,” added Coach Finstad. “They have some pretty solid girls coming in with Brittany next fall, and I think she is just really ready to join them. They used her quite a bit in camp so I will be excited to see what she can do with them on the field this fall. They are coming off a strong 2013 season, and they have filled positions with some very talented girls.”

Coach Finstad, who has been the only head coach in the young Tiger girls soccer program, will also be leaving after she earlier posted her retirement notice. Pat Arens, a seventh grade social studies teacher at Princeton Middle School, is tapped to replace Finstad as head coach.

“I thank you for being our very first head coach and for leading the program through the years. It’s sad to see the Finstad/Beckman duo leave us, but you left the program better than when you got here,” said Laabs.