After signing her national letter of intent during her final season with the Notre Dame girls soccer team last month, Kristin Anderson joined a long list of soccer players from the area to become Southeast Missouri State Redhawks.
Anderson will, in fact, be the first Bulldog to become a Redhawk for soccer since former two-time state champion Megan Heisserer did so in 2019. Other players to join SEMO from the area in recent memory have been the likes of Saxony Lutheran’s Emma Brune and Jackson’s Grace Crowden, Katelyn Miller, Natalie Miller and Taylor Nelson. Another former Indian joining the program this fall will be Abbey Klund, who transferred over from Southwest Baptist.
Anderson is also joined in this year’s signing class by current Indian Justi Nelson, who Kristin has played against plenty over the years in high school, of course.
“I think that’s pretty awesome because it shows there is talent from around here,” Anderson said. “I think all of us working together from this hometown have a lot in common, so it’s easier to work together.
“I’m really close friends with Abbey Klund — we’ve grown up together and she was at my birth. We are family basically, so having her there is going to make a huge difference by being able to have that best friend there.”
While it may have been an easy decision for the rest of these players to choose to play soccer in college, it wasn’t as easy of a decision for Kristin to make. This is because Anderson was also a standout on the volleyball court as a two-time all-conference and all-district selection at Notre Dame.
As an outside hitter and defensive specialist, Kristin helped lead the Bulldogs volleyball team to win back-to-back district championships for the first time in 12 years.
Over her three years with Notre Dame’s soccer team, the Bulldogs have won at least 13 games each season for a combined record of 43-15-3. Notre Dame only lost two home games and recorded a total of 28 shutouts during that time with Anderson in the backline.
“I love volleyball, and I love soccer, so I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Kristin said. “During this soccer season is when I for sure realized I wanted to play soccer. … I realized, ‘If I don’t take this opportunity, then I’ll never know what could’ve happened.’”
Volleyball was actually Anderson’s favorite sport for a while until recently, but the thing she’ll miss the most about it will be her high school and travel team teammates.
While Heisserer is still currently a player at SEMO, she also helps coach Anderson and the rest of Notre Dame’s soccer team as an assistant for the Bulldogs from time-to-time. Kristin said Megan gave her a lot of advice on what she should do.
“She was telling me how it works and that all sounded good to me,” Anderson said. “When I went on visits, I loved the girls — they were all super nice and super welcoming. I’ve had Heather as a youth coach when I was younger, so I know how she coaches.
“I know she would do what’s best for me and what’s best for the team. I love it there, and I wanted to go to SEMO anyway, so getting to be able to play college soccer there is a dream of mine.”
Anderson first started playing soccer when she was four-years-old, but she feels that soccer and volleyball have helped her become a better leader. Both sports also helped keep Kristin in shape throughout the school year while also giving her a break from each one.
As a defender on the soccer field, Anderson said her absolute favorite thing to do is tackle. Kristin noted this is a way for her to take out any anger she has in a “non-fouling kind of way,” she laughed.
“I love working together with the girls, too — I love team sports,” she said. “I love working together with people and soccer is a fast-moving sport. It doesn’t seem like it, but it really is and there’s a lot of communication.”
When Anderson first started playing as a defender her sophomore year, she described herself as timid since she was younger. Therefore, Kristin didn’t know if she should be the one to speak and be a leader.
Notre Dame’s coaches told Anderson that as the center back she had to fill that leadership role and speak up. This is because in her position, Kristin is able to see the entire field and angles that other players on her team can’t see, so communication was crucial for a player like her.
“I decided early on my sophomore year that I was going to be a leader, and I love leading teams,” she said. “I like being that for people, so I think that was the best spot for me.
“Even now I’ve moved around a lot more because we have younger girls that don’t know where they should go. So I’ve moved around, which I also think has helped me be able to be a well-rounded player.”
Prior to her senior year, Anderson spent two seasons playing alongside former Notre Dame center back Kathryn Taylor, who was the only Bulldog to earn Class 4 All-State honors last spring. Kristin simply described Taylor as “a beast.”
“I miss Kathryn like crazy and being able to rely on her,” Anderson said. “I knew that if the ball got by me that it wasn’t getting by her. She was the best defender I’ve ever seen.”
Off the pitch at SEMO, Anderson will be studying health sciences to pursue a degree as either an athletic trainer or physical therapist. Besides wanting to stay around athletics, Kristin wants to be in this field to learn more about injuries and how to help athletes continue their careers who suffer them.
What Anderson has enjoyed the most about her time at Notre Dame is the coaches, who she said actually take the time to help athletes excel since it’s a smaller school.