Soccer star ends ONU career with NAIA honor, winning season
Emily Bushue received a great goodbye present upon her departure from the Olivet Nazarene University (ONU) women's soccer team.
Bushue, a senior defender, recently received Honorable Mention All-American recognition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), according to www.onutigers.com.
“I was not expecting it at all,” Bushue told the Kankakee Times. “I'm very happy about it, of course, but I was only here for two seasons, and the first year, I didn't feel very successful personally, so to finally play where I'm comfortable and to get noticed for it is a blessing from God. I wouldn't have been able to do it without him, any of my teammates and the coaching staff that pushed us to be better every day.”
This season, Bushue had two goals and an assist and took 12 shots, in addition to leading the defense, which tied for 14th nationally in goals allowed per game at 0.65, according to www.naia.org. Overall this season, the Tigers gave up 251 shots and 115 shots on-goal for per-game averages of 12.55 and 5.75, respectively, per the school's athletics website.
Bushue also was named to the All-Chicagoland Athletic Conference First Team.
It was not anything specific that got her into soccer, Bushue said.
“I just wanted to play a sport, and I had fun playing soccer, so I just kept with it all through middle school and high school,” she said.
Bushue was an all-conference player at Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood, while also playing for the Windy City Pride club squad, according to www.onutigers.com. From there, she went to Parkland Junior College in Champaign for two seasons and continued her strong play. She earned All-Region 24 Team honors both seasons there.
But even in high school, ONU had a presence for her. Bushue said she knew Tigers Head Coach Bill Bahr and Assistant Coach Josh Macharia and that they had shown an interest in her.
“Then I was able to keep in touch with Coach Bahr, and I was fortunate that he still wanted me to come to ONU,” she said.
In her first season at ONU, Bushue had four goals and four assists, and took 38 shots, with 17 of those being on-goal. Two of her goals were game winners.
Bushue also has the distinction of being a major part of a two-season run of team excellence at ONU.
In 2015, the Tigers went 15-5-1 with a 10-2 mark in league play. This season, the Tigers went 15-3-2 with an 11-1 record in conference – which earned ONU co-champion status – and reached the conference-championship game for the second straight season.
“I really love being with my teammates, and playing in games is always the best part because you take everything you've been doing in practice and get to see how you do against an opponent,” she said.
The NAIA All-American teams are selected by a committee consisting of officers from the NAIA Women's Soccer Coaches Association, as well as seven additional coaches, according to www.onutigers.com.