Andrew Nelson, Contributor
Last weekend, hours after another Omaha women’s soccer win, one of their very own was getting ready to road trip to Kansas City for something that caught even her by surprise.
Emily Michaels, a sophomore defender for the Omaha women’s soccer team, was one of ten finalists in the inaugural “Oh Say Can You Sing” contest. Michaels was chosen as the winner over nine other finalists by select Sporting KC players and front office staff to sing the national anthem at Saturday’s game between Sporting KC and DC United.
Aside from being talented with her feet, Michaels’ voice has always been a skill of hers.
“I’ve always messed around with it with my sister and dad who both play guitar, but never organized singing,” Michaels said. “If shower singing counts, I’ve been singing my whole life.”
Her lack of singing experience made Michaels think it was unlikely that her submission would go far.
“I submitted it because my teammate, Haley Shelton, sent me the Facebook link, and I just went for it,” Michaels said. “I honestly had no intention of making it far, so I was completely taken back when I was named a finalist.”
The Olathe, Kan. native played in five games and started one of those games last season as a freshmen. Michaels is sure to see plenty more playing time this season on a young Omaha team in their final season of transitioning into Division-1.
“I’m expecting really great things for our team,” Michaels said. “This group of girls is so special, and we’re all on the same page as far as wanting to prove that we deserve to be competing with these other division one teams. This season has a lot of good things in store for us.”
Michaels also set personal goals for herself.
“I just hope to gain the necessary confidence to be as strong of a player as I know I can be,” Michaels said. “I want my teammates to count on me as a strong player in the back.”
The Omaha women’s soccer team is already off to a good start to the season, beating the Cyclones of Iowa State 2-1 and the Incarnate Ward 2-0. The Lady Mavs will be back in action this Friday against Weber State as they begin a three game road trip. Omaha plays the Utah State Aggies before coming back to the Midwest to face Northern Illinois in DeKalb, Ill.
Michaels would still choose playing instead of singing in front of over 20,000 people, but don’t let that fool you.
“I think playing in front of 20,000 plus people would be more rewarding because I would have my team to relish the experience with me,” Michaels said. “I am loving my fifteen minutes of fame, but being part of a team has been my entire life and an experience like that would be unreal.”
It appears this UNO sophomore could have a future in something other than academics or soccer. Be sure to check out Michael’s well as the other finalists’ audition videos at www.sportingkc.com/anthem/finalists.