Laney Parker is one of the best players from the Chicago, Illinois area in the Class of 2020.
The 5-foot-5, 170-pound Parker, who attends Crown Point High School, is a dynamic player that works as a defensive midfielder.
Parker plays for the Indiana Elite FC and helped the club win the President’s Cup.
Parker is humbled for the chance to showcase her skills.
“It meant everything to me because a lot of people underestimated my team so when we won it felt good,” Parker said. “It was an amazing experience to go up against teams that we’ve never played before and it was also very good competition.”
No matter the opponent, every match Parker is determined to give it her all.
Parker is going all out.
The motor is always at full throttle whenever Parker steps between the lines.
“My mindset when I am playing is to always keep it cool calm and collective,” Parker said. “Also to distribute the ball to the forwards so that they have a better chance of scoring. I want the other team to have to work hard for everything they get while I’m out there.”
Parker has great passion and energy whenever she’s on the field. Parker tells why she enjoys the game of soccer so much.
“Honestly I love everything about playing soccer,” Parker said. “My team, my coach, the excitement of competing and simply just stepping out onto the pitch ready to give my all.”
Parker has learned many valuable lessons from playing soccer that she applies to her everyday life.
The main one is applying perspective to all situations.
“Playing has taught me to respect others and that nothing in life comes easy,” Parker said. “You have to work hard and be self driven in order to succeed. No matter, always give it your all.”
Parker recalls her favorite soccer memory.
“My favorite memory was when my team went to Overland Park Kansas because we got to bond and play against some tough teams and it was very good competition,” Parker said. “That’s a special moment that I’m never going to forget.”
Semir Mesanovic has been Parker’s coach for the Indiana Elite for the last four years.
Mesanovic explains the best parts of Parker’s game.
“She plays center midfielder and defensive mid,. She is a very smart and technical player. She helps her team defend and also builds up play,” Mesanovic said. “She has good vision and passing ability. The other team has to be aware of her at all times.”
Parker takes her role as one of the leaders on the team very seriously. Parker makes sure she’s a daily positive influence on her peers.
“I try to demonstrate being a good teammate on and off of the field. On the field I always try to keep the play positive. I always try to encourage my teammates when they make a mistake or if we are losing so that they keep their heads high and continue to try their best. Off the field I always try to be a good friend and let my teammates know that I am here for anything they might need because they are my second family,” Parker said. “The best advice I have given my teammates is to always give 100 percent at whatever they are doing and to never give up and to always strive to accomplish their goals.”
Mesanovic adds that Parker is one of those consummate teammates that every squad needs to be successful.
“She leads by example on and off the field,” Mesanovic said. “That attitude has a contagious effect on the rest of the team. She’s like an extension of the coaching staff on the field.”
Parker is appreciative of having amazing male role models that are supportive.
“Coach Semir has been a big influence on my life. He has taught me to work hard and to always respect other players on the field, as well as referees, coaches, and parents,” Parker said. “The best advice my coach has given me is to always keep the place simple and to not force anything and to give 100 percent in everything that I do.”
Mesanovic is an advocate of Parker’s capabilities.
“She helped her team win the President Cup and performed well at the regionals,” Mesanovic said. “We wouldn’t have had that kind of success without her strong play and contributions on the field.”
In addition to making clutch plays, Parker also has a high level of soccer IQ as well.
Parker has excellent awareness that puts her in position to thrive.
“She reads the game really well, and puts herself in the right spots,” Mesanovic said. “She’s a very smart player that uses her intelligence to her advantage.”
Parker is on the grind to perfect and hone her craft in any way possible.
“She trains like she plays in games, is very competitive and has a great work ethic,” Mesanovic said. “She’s a very hard working player.”
Mesanovic raves about the characteristics of Parker.
“Laney has a unique style and is extremely hard working on and off the field,” Mesanovic said. “She is the ultimate team player”
Parker patterns her play after this standout.
“A player I look up to is Julie Ertz because even though she plays defense midfielder she is up scoring goals and is all over the field helping and creating plays,” Parker said.
Parker is constantly striving for greatness in everything that she does.
“My goals on the field are to be a good leader to my teammates and to work hard and improve every day,” Parker aid. “ My goals off the field are to maintain good grades and get into a good college so that I am able to get a good job that I enjoy and build a good future for myself.”
Parker wants to continue playing soccer in the Midwest at the collegiate level.
“My dream college is Ball State University. I want to go here because I admire everything about the school,” Parker said. “Their soccer program is Division I, they are a very good academic school and their campus is beautiful. Also I want to study veterinary medicine or study to become a physical therapist.”
Parker lists math as her favorite subject in school.
“Math just comes easy to me and it helps that I have an amazing math teacher,” Parker said.
Mesanovic believes Parker is determined take her game to the next level.
“She is working on fitness, quickness and speed to become a high level status athlete,” Mesanovic said. “I am confident she will improve in these categories and become even more potent as a player.”
Mesanovic believes the sky is the limit as long as Parker continues to stay hungry.
“She has the potential to play at a college level at a high level,” Mesanovic said. “Sacrifice and hard work and determination will get her to that point.”
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