Hailee Christensen’s bounce back season from injury ended up with a state title for the Harrisburg girls

Tiger junior leads her team to State AA title after missing last season with ACL injury
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 11:27 PM CDT
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HARRISBURG, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -It’s nearly impossible to keep a soccer ball out of the net when it finds Hailee Christensen. “It’s actually crazy because usually teams only score 24 goals in a season and she has 24 herself! She’s so good and she deserves every one of it. She works so hard on the field and at practice.” Harrisburg Junior Jaylee Hofer says.

And it all started because a young Hailee wanted to get outside. “Five or six it was really the only sport that I could play at that age and I really just wanted to get out and join a team.” Christensen says.

Yet her family had no history with the sport, and father Eric would soon have to learn it with her. “The local club was looking for a coach and said hey you want to help? And that’s how I got into coaching it and I’ve been involved kind of as her partner ever since.” Harrisburg Head Coach Coach Eric Christensen says.

In club and later as a freshman at Harrisburg High School, Hailee always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. “I kind of am able to connect all the connecting passes. I can play the through balls.” Hailee says.

Until a tournament in the Twin Cities in February 2021. “Got the ball, stepped wrong, felt like bones grinding together almost.” Hailee says. “A girl kind of come up on her blindside and she planted wrong and hyperextended.” Eric says. I did the exact same thing again like a week later and that time I knew that I definitely did something wrong.” Hailee says.

Christensen missed all of her sophomore year with a torn ACL. “Mentally draining. Physically draining going to physical therapy three times a week. Once I started walking and then jumping and then running it just kind of felt like winning a gold medal.” Hailee says.

Not long after returning this year the wins came in bunches on the pitch for Harrisburg, 16 in 18 games, as did Hailee’s goals. The junior led the state with 35 goals and 20 assists. “It’s really not a mindset that it’s this focus on scoring. It’s focus on making that last pass when the time is right and it just happens to be a goal.” Eric says.

Her final tally a penalty kick which helped the Tigers reach their ultimate goal, the AA state championship.

With a senior year ahead Hailee has even bigger goals in mind. “(I’d like to play) Collegiate and D1.” Christensen says.

Which likely means plenty more to score.

In Harrisburg, Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.