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March 17, 2022

Shooting for the Stars and Stripes

Freshman soccer standout earns one of 24 roster spots on the under-15 girls youth national team
Wiseman dribbles the ball away from an opposing player during a club team game.
Photo courtesy of Wiseman.
Wiseman dribbles the ball away from an opposing player during a club team game.

When freshman Ellie Wiseman first got a message from her club soccer coach that a United States national team scout would be watching her game, she blew it off. 

“I didn’t really think much of it,” Wiseman said. “I didn’t think that was a possibility to be in the U.S. soccer system.” 

“I didn’t really think much of it, I didn’t think that was a possibility to be in the U.S. soccer system.”

— freshman Ellie Wiseman

Wiseman has been playing with her same club team for eight years, but numerous opportunities to play outside of it have presented themselves since. This past summer, Wiseman was chosen by her Lonestar Soccer Club in Austin to travel to New Zealand to watch Women’s World Cup and to play in a tournament with youth teams in the area. 

“It was really cool, soccer.com flew all of us out to New Zealand, and we were there for two weeks watching group stage World Cup games and playing in a tournament,” Wiseman said. 

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Despite getting invited to New Zealand, however, Wiseman still didn’t think the national team was a possibility for her. That quickly changed after that same club soccer coach invited her to a regional soccer camp nearly a year ago. 

“When I got invited, it started to become a real thing to me,” Wiseman said. “It applied more pressure but was also really exciting. It was like a one-day camp where we scrimmage all day, and I probably went to around four of those.”

Although she was nervous during the camps, Wiseman knew that what mattered more was not just how she played during one camp but her consistency as a player. 

“I was definitely nervous, but you have to do what you can and if they want you, they want you,” Wiseman said. “I tried to let myself not get too nervous about it though because how you are doing in those games doesn’t determine if you are going to move up to the next camp. They also care about how you are playing outside [of them] watching your games, and they are always in contact with your coach.” 

At the U-15 camp this October, Wiseman poses for a photo with teammate Carolina Reyna. Photo courtesy of Wiseman.

After four camps, Wiseman was moved up to yet another regional camp at a more competitive level. 

“I went and there were so many girls, around 400,” Wiseman said. “From there, they narrowed it down from 400 to 36, who met in California in late May 2023.” 

From those 36, Wiseman was one of 24 girls selected for the under-15 women’s youth national team.

“I was at school when I found out I made the team, in my principal of arts animation class,” Wiseman said. “My coach texted me and I was so overwhelmed and excited, I couldn’t even believe it.”

Wiseman’s soccer career began far before this, when her parents stuck her in as many sports as they could. But soccer stood out to 5-year-old Wiseman, and to this day continues to stand out. 

“Soccer is the [sport] that I just stuck with I think I liked just running around and being outside.”  

— freshman Ellie Wiseman

“Soccer is the [sport] that I just stuck with,” Wiseman said. “I think I liked just running around and being outside. Also, it’s a team sport, so I can make a bunch of new friends. I’ve known some of the girls since I was around 8, and I don’t know if I would’ve met them if I hadn’t played soccer.”  

One of those friends is freshman Maya Garwood, who has admired Wiseman from a young age. 

“I had heard of Ellie when I was younger but didn’t meet her till around sixth grade,” Garwood said. “She was very good from a young age, so I remember being intimidated by her.” 

Garwood says that as the two got older she was given more opportunities to interact with Wiseman, revealing many qualities Garwood admires.

“I think getting to know her more, I realized she was a kind and nice person as well as a wonderful soccer player,” Garwood said. “She is very humble for the skill she has, the opportunities she has gotten and her ability to be a good sport.” 

Even those who do not know Wiseman on the pitch are proud. Wiseman’s cousin, senior Daisy Wiseman, was also overjoyed to hear the news. 

“I was like, ‘Damn, she’s crazy, knew she was good at soccer, but I didn’t realize she was that good.”

— senior Daisy Wiseman

“[Wiseman] told us a month before the news came out,” Daisy said. “It was right after she had just gone to the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand, so that was cool, too.” 

Daisy said the news was unexpected. 

“I was like, ‘Damn, she’s crazy,’” Daisy said. “I knew she was good at soccer, but I didn’t realize she was that good.”

Daisy feels that many of her cousin’s best qualities as a person are transferred to her actions on the field. 

“She’s a big team player who always looks out for her people,” Daisy said. “My sister is also a freshman, and they are always helping each other with their homework. She is genuinely a kind and helping person. As a defender, she is always backing up and helping them out, making sure that the other team doesn’t score.” 

In October of 2023, Wiseman traveled to Portland, Ore. with the other 24 girls, to officially join the U.S. A U15 team. 

“It was a lot of training, and then two scrimmages,” Wiseman said. “I knew it was going to be a high level, so it was very fast-paced and the coaching was excellent.”

Wiseman said that despite making it to the top camp, there is a possibility that she won’t be invited back. 

 “I think I did well, but it’s hard to stand out because everyone is so good,” Wiseman said. “I won’t do anything for U.S. Soccer until April, if I get invited back. They keep watching you at tournaments and games to invite you back. Oregon was just to see how we worked with the environment — the team and coaches.”

The freshman feels that a lot of her success as a player can be attributed to her coach.

Wiseman during a game for her club team Lonestar SC. Photo courtesy of Wiseman.

“She shows all of her players how much she cares about them and that she believes in them, but when she needs to be she can be strict and serious,” Wiseman said. “She keeps it fun but also competitive. I think her believing in me and showing me that these opportunities are possible has pushed me to keep working for them.” 

If Wiseman doesn’t return this April, the freshman defender still feels like there were many lessons to take away from her time playing for the U.S. team. This experience ultimately inspired Wiseman’s dream of continuing soccer at the college level. 

“The speed of play and how quick you have to play really showed me what college soccer is going to be like,” Wiseman said. “I would love to play college soccer and that goal is very motivating for me.” 

This story was originally published on The Shield Online on November 17, 2023.