Athlete of the week: Brooke Salo, Zimmerman, soccer: Energy source

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Brooke Salo is best described as an “energizer” on the soccer field, and not only because she’s Zimmerman’s all-time leader in goals.

“Brooke has a super positive attitude. She picks everyone up,” said coach Jeff Downing. “She is an energizer for the team. She has played every position on the field, even goalie a couple times. She stays in great condition, and I don’t think she’s every asked for a substitute (to rest).”

A 5-foot-8, 140-pound midfielder with a sharp mind (4.0 GPA), sturdy, agile physique and cheery demeanor, Salo knocked in five goals as the Thunder went 3-0 in a season-opening tournament last weekend.

Brooke Salo is Zimmerman's career goals leader and has made all-conference since ninth grade. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Brooke Salo is Zimmerman’s career goals leader and has made all-conference since ninth grade. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

She’s delivered 12 goals each of the last two seasons. Her career total around 35, which tops the old Thunder record of 30 by Hannah Fordahl. (Her exact stats for 8th and 9th grade were not available at this posting).

“She is not the fastest player but has good anticipation in knowing how to get in the best position to do the job,” said Downing. “She’s good with faking people out to get herself some space. She has always been ahead of the curve for her age group.”

Salo, a co-captain the past two years, has made all-conference each season since ninth grade while leading the Thunder in goals all along.

Soccer has always been her game. She dabbled briefly in other sports but knows her niche.

“I started soccer in pre-school,” she said. “I remember that we got a little flyer in school, and I went out and played, and I thought, ‘Hey, I’m kinda good at this!’ I’ve been playing ever since. You like best the sport where you do well.”

Salo has helped the Thunder improve each year, from 2-14-1 her freshman season to 6-11-0 and 9-6-2 last season. They finished above .500 for the first time last year, and had 12 players score, the most ever. That was fun, but Salo was “really scared” about this year, with several starters graduating. However, the good opening tournament was encouraging. “I was really proud of them,” she said about the newcomers.

The biggest goal Salo ever made was not for the Thunder but for her summer team, the TRSA Red Bulls. In the league playoff finals against Centennial in early August, with a state trip on the line, Salo made a header with a minute left, off a corner kick from Maddie Jacob.

“She crossed it to me and I just flicked it in. That was the best feeling ever! I just went over to her and cried,” said Salo, referring to Jacob, also her Thunder classmate.

Salo had eight goals for the Red Bulls, proficient with either leg, while working hard on playing faster and smarter, said coach Aaron Lindquist, who added that he would take Salo “on any team, any time.” When he brought some 16’s and 17’s players to a college showcase in Iowa in late July, he said, Salo proved to be “an absolute standout” in that setting.

The Thunder scoring leader plans to continue soccer at Concordia-St. Paul




Brooke Salo
Brooke Salo

Personal file — Age: 17 … Family: parents Andrea and Chad; younger brothers Brenden and Brady … Sport: soccer …. Academics: 4.0 GPA … Other activities: National Honor Society … College plans: Concordia-St. Paul, soccer, major undecided

Favorite stuff — Class: math … TV show: English Premier soccer games, World Cup, “Big Bang Theory” … Movie: Disney movies, especially “Cinderella” … Food: Chinese fare …. Drink: chocolate milk after games … Music: old country, especially George Strait … Team: Germany in World Cup … Athlete: Alex Morgan … Kickback: fishing, camping, being on the lake … Wants to visit: Italy