ISC Alumni Page

The ISC Alumni Page profiles some of the amazing players and coaches that have represented the ISC over the past 20+ years, and hopefully by highlighting their experiences, it provides motivation and guidance to the current ISC players and families. We will be adding two new alumni profiles each month.

“Even after our time at the ISC was over, we remain tied to the club through great memories, lifelong friendships and a love of the game”.

Meet a few of the proud Alumni of the Iowa Soccer Club. Click on a picture below to read their stories.

Paris Martins

Paris Martins

Name: Paris Mukisa Martins

Age: 24

How many years did you play soccer at the ISC: 14 years

Current Profession: Fitness Professional

Who were your ISC club coaches: My head coach was always Jon Cook, he pretty much coached me my 14 years with the ISC. I played under a various coaches but Jon was always my head coach.

Who was your favorite ISC coach: Jon Cook

Which High School did you attend: Iowa City West High

What is your favorite memory while playing for the ISC: Playing for the ISC completely changed my life. I viewed soccer an entirely different way after joining the ISC. I became much, much more competitive, and completely fell in love with soccer. If I had to choose my favorite memory,  it’s definitely the time that Joel Baker bought me a soccer ball at one of our tournaments when I was 9, which he made clear I needed to pay him back for. Till this day, I still owe him that $20 dollars 🙂

Which Iowa youth team did you look forward to playing against the most and why: I absolutely loved playing against the Iowa City Alliance. A lot of my friends from high school played on that team, and it was nice to compete against them. They also brought out the best in me, and we won a majority of the time 🙂

What was your most embarrassing moment on the soccer field: This is a very hard question for me to answer, only because I feel like I was embarrassed all the time growing up. I was one goofy kid let me tell you, but to be honest, the most embarrassing moment I had on the soccer field has to be during the State Cup semi-final when I missed the 4th penalty kick to lose the game.

Who was your funniest teammate playing for the ISC: E.J Schroder, E.J Schroder, and again, E.J Schroder

Who was your smartest teammate playing for the ISC: Without a doubt, Nathan Schuchert.

Growing up who was your all-time favorite professional soccer player: Easiest question of all time: RONALDINHO.

Which College/University did you play for: Wartburg College (NCAA D3)

Did you play professional soccer? If so for which club and when: I have played at a very high semi-professional level. I played for the Springfield Synergy in 2015, Muskegon Risers in 2016/17, Milwaukee Torrent in 2018, and Chicago Mustangs, present.

What is your greatest soccer achievement: My greatest soccer achievement has to be when I scored the only goal in the State Cup final my Junior year of high school with Brad Stiles.

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car: To be honest, I think about EVERYTHING. I’m someone that has one of those minds that never stops thinking. I talk to myself a lot. Like…… a lot, a lot. Especially when I’m in the car alone. But I do think about my clients, working out, and soccer the most.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from this questionnaire: I am a perfectionist. My nice way of saying I have slight OCD and need EVERYTHING to be clean. My car, room, etc. It must be spotlessly clean. If it isn’t clean I won’t even think twice about cleaning it. I will start cleaning it before I get a chance to think about cleaning it.

Which professional soccer/football club do you support: Real Madrid (I like Ronaldo more, but if you were to ask me whose better, Messi).

What inspires you: There are so many things that inspire me, like a ridiculous amount of things, so I will list 3. My mother, Janice Martins, inspires me the most. She is the women who adopted me at the age of 2 and has done absolutely everything for me. Never missed a game home or away, and supported me the ENTIRE way. She is my guardian angel. Number 2 are my coaches. I had the BEST coaches growing up, and all of them treated me so well, and pushed me to be a better player. Without them, my soccer career wouldn’t be what it is today and I can’t thank all of them enough for their support. Lastly, my 3 dogs that passed away. If you know me, you know about those 3 dogs. They were the most important things to me, and till this day, every time I step on the field, after the National Anthem, I look up to the sky and blow a kiss to all three of them.

What Is your advice for players currently playing for the ISC: Fall in love with the game, and DO NOT take anything for granted. Always work hard, especially on your weak foot. I can’t stress enough the importance of fitness and juggling. Don’t avoid fitness, and don’t avoid juggling. Be you. I think i tried too hard to be like others, it’s great to admire people, but look to be the best YOU. The best teams are the ones that communicate the most, get close with your teammates, I promise you most of them will end up being life-long friends. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to cry. 14 years with the Iowa Soccer Club was one bumpy road. And let me tell you, I cried a lot. Let your emotions show, they will make you a better player in the end. Don’t be afraid to get stuck in, run the extra mile, or cry in your mom’s arms. Just be you, and always have fun 🙂

 

Christen Karniski

Christen Karniski

Name: Christen Karniski Torres

Age: 34

Current profession: Acquisitions Editor for Rowman & Littlefield — I acquire sports books for the company.

How many years did you play soccer at the ISC: Around 6 years

Who were your main ISC club coaches: Jon Cook

Who was your favorite ISC coach: Same answer, Jon!

Which high school did you attend: West High

What is your favorite memory while playing for the ISC: Probably playing “the crying game” over and over until the whole team was exhausted. Really, there isn’t a favorite single moment, just the overall memory of all the friendships and the practices that were ultra-competitive but still a lot of fun at the same time.

Which Iowa youth team did you look forward to playing against the most and why: I can’t remember!

What was your most embarrassing moment on the soccer field: It was probably when I got my first (and only) red card at a tournament, when a girl on a breakaway swung her leg back and caught me running up behind her and fell. The ref actually apologized for having to give me the red card, and of course I went off the field in tears!

Who was your funniest teammate playing for the ISC: Candice Divoky-Salow

Who was your smartest teammate playing for the ISC: Natasha Karniski — not just saying it because she’s my twin!

Growing up who was your all-time favorite professional soccer player: Probably Joy Fawcett from the USWNT, though there was no women’s professional league for her to play in when I was growing up.

Which college/university did you play for: University of Illinois (NCAA D1)

Did you play professional soccer: If so for which club and when: Yes, for Danmarks IF in the Damallsvenskan, in Sweden (2007) and for Washington Freedom in the WUSA (2009).

What is your greatest soccer achievement: From a team perspective, making it to the Elite Eight my junior year in college. Personally, either being named an All-American my senior year or playing professionally.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from this questionnaire: I met my husband while playing soccer.

Which professional soccer/football club do you support: Arsenal FC and the Philadelphia Union (I live in the Philadelphia area now).

Are you still playing soccer – if yes, for which team: No, not for any competitive team, but I still play rec soccer almost every week.

What is your advice for players currently playing for the ISC: Work hard but have fun. When you really love the game, the most difficult practices are often the ones you enjoy the most.