Friday, July 19, 2024

Inspired by her older sister, future Purdue player Bianca Hanisch kicks her way to NCAA soccer

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By Maria Michaux

Growing up in a soccer-loving family where matches were a constant on the TV every weekend, Bianca Hanisch knew that it was the sport for her from a young age. And watching her oldest sister Bella pursue and accomplish her goals in high-level soccer showed her she can go down that same path and succeed too.

Bella was the first of five Hanisch siblings to take up the sport at Ottawa South United Soccer Club, the first to play for the Canadian youth national team, the first to capture an Ontario Player Development League title, the first to move to Toronto to join the National Development Centre Ontario, and the first to become an NCAA student-athlete, at DePaul University.

Bianca has followed Bella on each of those steps except the last one, but that will change come 2025 when the 17-year-old joins the Purdue University Boilermakers.

“She’s always been the player I wanted to be, and she inspires me on and off the field,” Bianca says of Bella. “She’s the reason I decided to take soccer seriously. She’s my biggest inspiration.”

After capturing a U14 Ontario Player Development League championship in dominant fashion with OSU in 2021, Bianca was invited to join the NDC in her Grade 9 year. With Bella having already piloted the pathway, Bianca jumped at the chance to join the centre and transferred from St. Francis-Xavier Catholic High School to Bill Crothers Secondary School in Markham.

Again drawing on family experience, Bianca was determined to find a university that offered not only an NCAA Division 1 soccer program but also strong academics. She would like to study either business or medicine, and Purdue provided the best fit.

“It was my dream to find a school I liked in America so I could play that high-level soccer,” Bianca highlights. “I fell in love with Purdue, the coaches, the school environment and education. I felt I found the right school for me.”


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Bianca’s long-term goal is to play soccer professionally, and Purdue will also offer her excellent exposure opportunities and top competition in the Big Ten conference.

The midfielder understands that university-level soccer will have a faster pace of play, more physically-demanding practices and a higher level of competition, plus a new set of expectations and pressures, but she says all that is part of what she loves about the sport.

“I’d rather play in a high-pressure game than one without it,” underlines Bianca, who picks her Team Canada appearances at the U15 and U17 levels as her favourite soccer memories to date. “I like to remind myself what I’m good at, what I know I can do, and at the end of the day, this is something I do for fun and because I love it.”

Bianca Hanisch celebrates one of many Canadian goals at the 2023 Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Qualifiers in the Dominican Republic. Photo: Canada Soccer

Bianca’s on-field and off-field goals for her first year at Purdue are a reflection of her ambition and the inspiration she draws from her family. She’d like to be a conference rookie team all-star and earn significant game minutes or a starting position for the Boilermakers.

She’s also eager to make a strong impression, integrate quickly, demonstrate her skills, and establish herself as a valuable team member who can contribute to the squad’s success.

The second-youngest of four Hanisch sisters, Bianca’s final goal was no doubt inspired by her family (which also includes Alysse, who made history with OSU as the first team to ever win the OPDL league, cup and charity shield championships in one season in 2019, and youngest sister Felicia, who was part of a select OSU squad that won the Gatorade Global 5v5 Finals in London, U.K. earlier this month). Her last key objective is to help foster a supportive and inclusive environment on her team.

“It’s always hard coming in as a new player, so I would like to contribute to supporting a culture where everyone is welcome and feels like one big family,” Bianca smiles.

Read More in our 2024 High School Best Series, presented by Louis-Riel Sports-Études, as we tip our caps to top local student-athletes at: OttawaSportsPages.ca/Ottawa-High-School-Best-2024

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