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Cobbers senior soccer player Libby Fransdal often remembers her mother prior to games

Concordia senior soccer player Libby Fransdal wears a Livestrong bracelet and a thumb ring that reads “always in your heart” as tributes to her mother, who died in 2011 from cancer. Dave Wallis / The Forum


Libby Fransdal sat near the Concordia soccer field last week, and then paused briefly to glance at her surroundings.

“I think she would have loved it here,” said Fransdal, a senior defender for the Cobbers women’s soccer team.

Fransdal was referring to her mother, Melinda, who died from cancer in 2011 when Libby was a senior in high school.

“A lot of the time before (games), I am thinking about her,” said Fransdal, who is from Hopkins, Minn. “She would want me to have fun first, and do well second.”

Concordia head coach Kevin Roos said Fransdal is the “total package” as a player, both on and off the field. Fransdal netted the

game-winning goal in the Cobbers’ season-opening overtime win Friday at Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

“Her head is always in the right spot,” Roos said. “She’s so focused and she is a great leader as well. She brings other people’s play up. It is great to have a leader like that.”

Fransdal’s mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. Melinda died in May of 2011, a few days after Libby went to prom and weeks before she graduated from high school.

“She would never call it her battle with cancer, the fight with cancer,” said Fransdal, who is in her fourth season as a starter for the Cobbers. “It was always her journey with it.”

Fransdal and her family took a spring break trip to Arizona in 2011. Libby cherishes a moment she shared on that trip with her mom, a moment that still gives her comfort.

The two were on a walk when they stopped to take a break and talk.

“I’m not going to be here when you go to college,” said Libby, recalling her mom’s words. “You need to be strong. You need to think about me when you are having a tough time.”

Melinda also pointed to Libby’s heart and gave this message:

“‘I will always be there in your heart,’” Libby said. “‘I’ll be OK and you’ll be OK.’ The fact that she had told me that gave me some comfort.”

Fransdal still wears a yellow Livestrong bracelet on her wrist. She also has a thumb ring that reads “always in your heart.” She made the same ring for her younger sister, Amanda.

Both bracelet and ring are tributes to her mom. Libby remembers her mom as a very organized and selfless person.

Libby said Melinda planned her own funeral to give the family one less thing to worry about.

“It was the most selfless thing I’ve ever heard,” Fransdal said.

Fransdal is an exercise science major who plans to go into nursing. She wants to get involved with Hospice since the care it provided was helpful during her mom’s final months.

Fransdal is a two-sport athlete at Concordia, also playing for the women’s hockey team. Her father, David, is her No. 1 fan. He has only missed two of Libby’s college games.

“I am really proud of her,” David said. “She has done extremely well in both sports. … She is very hard-working. She doesn’t assume anything.”

David said Libby has many of the same qualities that her mom had.

Concordia was the one school Melinda didn’t get to visit with Libby. But it was a school, Libby said, her mom wanted her to attend.

“I think you can see a lot of her in me. That’s what I try and do,” Fransdal said. “I hope when people see me, they would think of my mom.”

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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