Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Soccer is a sport where scoring is hard to come by.
Low scoring games are often the norm. But Clare Culligan, a senior at St. John’s Prep, is averaging nearly four goals a game.
And there’s a secret move that makes Culligan a star.
“So I love the competitiveness of the sport, and how it can change in an instant,” she said.
Culligan is often the one making the game change. The St. John’s forward scored a whopping 43 goals in 18 games last year. And she got off to a hot start this year, when she scored seven goals in one game against Crookston.
“I’ve been called a pest for defense,” she said.
Being called a pest is something Culligan is proud of. So is her coach, Steve Larson. He’s been a high school coach for 17 years, and he knows he has a once-in-a-generation player.
“I haven’t seen, ever, somebody who has the tenacity that Clare has shown in driving the ball into our opponent’s net,” he said.
What makes Culligan so good is her own trademark move – the Clare cut.
“She’s got one, specific move,” said St. John’s senior Zoe Novak. “We kind of call it the ‘Clare cut,’ and it is a good decoy for a lot of defenders. It will take them out of the game.”
Earlier this week, Culligan reached a milestone most high school players never even approach. On a break-away, she captured the one hundredth goal of her career.
She credits her teammates with helping her reach the 100-goal mark. St. John’s Prep has a young team; but no matter how this season ends, Culligan will get a kick out of her team as much as she gets a kick out of soccer.
“I love the sport so much,” she said.
Culligan was the leading scorer in the state last year. She has been talking to Division 1 schools about possibly playing in college next year, but grades are also a big deal to her. She is close to being a 4.0 GPA student at St. John’s Prep.