MOORHEAD — It was two years ago when Olivia Watson had to decide between varsity girls soccer and varsity cross country. She had done both for a season and tried again, but it was too much on her legs.

She went with soccer and two years later, on Thursday, she verbally committed to North Dakota State to continue her soccer career after graduating from Moorhead in 2021.

"I wanted to stay local, but I also wanted a challenge," Watson said, choosing a Division I program.

It would be hard to find someone who believes Watson doesn't challenge herself. She recently finished her sophomore year at Moorhead and has done three seasons of Nordic skiing, three seasons of track and field, three seasons of soccer and one season each of football and cross country.

Lauren Hodny, right, of Moorhead congratulates Olivia Watson for her goal against Buffalo during their girls soccer game Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, at Moorhead. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Lauren Hodny, right, of Moorhead congratulates Olivia Watson for her goal against Buffalo during their girls soccer game Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, at Moorhead. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

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There's a two-week window between soccer and track and field where she's off, but that is it. Three days a week, at 5 a.m., Watson can be found in the weight room before school. In the summer, she's in there even more.

"NDSU is going to be getting a very hard worker, somebody that is 100 percent dedicated to her physical fitness and the sport of soccer with a great attitude," Moorhead girls soccer coach Nicole Wiesner said. "She's just a great kid all together. They're getting the total package."

Watson just finished her sophomore season with the Spuds, scoring 19 goals and dishing out eight assists in 19 matches. Moorhead went 15-4, losing in a shootout in the section championship match. She played striker and center midfielder, but Wiesner says she can play anywhere.

"She's a finisher," Wiesner said. "I could see her playing center back too. She's got soccer smarts, so she could play any position."

Watson began playing soccer when she was 6 years old. At 15 years old, she was trying to pick between NDSU, South Dakota State and Bemidji State as to where she'd play collegiate soccer.

A summer camp last week at NDSU pushed her toward the Bison.

"Their facilities were really nice compared to the others and I thought it would benefit me as an athlete," Watson said. "I'm really relieved. I've been stressing a lot about it. I think it's a really big opportunity that most kids in the area don't get. I'm excited."