Novikoff Wearing Different Hat for 2011

July 22, 2011

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Laura Novikoff is just a few credits short from obtaining her college degree. But just because her eligibility is up, doesn't mean she won't be visible around the UK Soccer Complex in 2011.

Novikoff will be working with the UK women's soccer team in 2011 in a managerial/student assistant coaching role.

The aspiring coach wants to use this as a springboard for her career.

"I would love to continue to go down the coaching path," Novikoff said. "I had the idea of coaching a little bit when I was in high school, but since I have been at UK, and I have seen the role of a (college soccer) coach, it really looks like something I would be interested in."

She admitted it would be a large challenge, but she said it would be something that she would be extremely passionate about.

How could she not be passionate about a sport that she has grown to love? At the tender age of 3, Novikoff picked up a soccer ball at the inspiration of her older brother, Chris.

"I actually played soccer just because my older brother did," Novikoff said. "I wanted to do whatever he did and follow him around."

Her playing career took off from there.

"As I got older, I came to the realization that I liked soccer more than any other sport," she said. "It quickly snowballed into this passion that I have today. I love it."

Novikoff hasn't quite called it quits just yet with her playing career.

"I am still trying to decide whether I need to hang up the boots or not," Novikoff said. "It's hard to do after playing since I was 3. It's really hard to just say, 'I'm done' after playing for so long."

Novikoff is currently playing for the Charlotte Lady Eagles in the W-League, a semi-professional soccer league that stretches all over the United States, with teams ranging from Seattle to Virginia Beach.

"I really love that," Novikoff said. "I actually got the privilege of playing in this league all throughout college."

In nine games played in 2011, Novikoff charted five points by netting two goals and adding in an assist. As of this writing, she's played more than 780 minutes, which is the third-most minutes played by anyone on her team.

When she was asked about who she tried to replicate her play after, she mentioned America's newest household name.

"I have always watched (national team member) Abby Wambach play, and I have always tried to be the type of competitor that she is," Novikoff said. "Back in my days as a forward, she was always the player that I tried to model my play after. I have so much respect for her, and I love to watch her play."

Novikoff's eligibility is up at UK, but she knew she wanted to come back to help the program.

When asked about her new position, it was very clear that she will be a huge help to this team.

"I will try to be a combination of both a manager and a coach," Novikoff said.

"When you are trying to help out a college program, you have to be able to wear a lot of hats," she said. "I am really just there to do whatever the coaches need me to do and help out the day-to-day process. I am going to try to make our coaches lives as easy as possible."

Not only will Novikoff be helping out the coaching staff, but she also mentioned that she is looking forward to helping out the players on the field, which is something she truly enjoys.

"If somebody needs help out there on the field during practice, or needs a little help on their footwork, or needs some extra balls hit to them, I'll be the first one out there to help them," Novikoff said.

When asked about the 2011 season, nobody sounded more excited than Novikoff to get things rolling.

"I am more than excited to be able to be a small part of this team, and I think everyone understands everything that is going on," Novikoff said.

The expectations in Lexington are extremely high for this 2011 team. Last season, the Wildcats made it to the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2007. Kentucky will kick off the season in Rochester, Mich., on Aug. 19 when the Wildcats tangle with the Oakland University Grizzlies.

UK will open up the home portion of the 2011 schedule on Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. ET against in-state-foe Eastern Kentucky.