Minnesota Gophers to celebrate ‘Mankato Community Day’ on Sunday

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 7:54 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2021 at 8:03 PM CDT
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MINNEAPOLIS (KEYC) — The Minnesota Gophers women’s soccer team is one of the few teams in the country that still has yet to allow a goal.

A staple in the group’s midfield is former Mankato West Scarlet McKenna Buisman.

From the Scarlets to the Gophers, Buisman’s decorated soccer career is coming full circle this weekend when the Gophers celebrate “Mankato Community Day” during the team’s game against North Dakota Sunday.

”It’s really exciting. I think it’s cool for the Gophers to recognize all the local talent, I know it’s a big deal for all of us girls from Minnesota to play for our home state,” Buisman said. “It’s nice to get that recognition and show where we’re from, give some gratitude back to our roots as well.”

Buisman became the first soccer player from Mankato to earn high school All-American honors back in 2017, and quickly made an impact for the Gophers the following year, with her first goal being a match-winner against Utah State.

After missing the entire 2019 season with an ACL injury, Buisman returned for the Gophers in a 2020 COVID-shortened season, playing in all 12 matches.

Then it was back home in Mankato, where she joined Mankato United of the Women’s Premier Soccer League over the summer to stay sharp for the current fall season.

”I really enjoyed that experience. I think it’s fun to get to play with new girls, new coaching staff. I know with our team, we drew in a lot of other Division I players, and then getting to build off the chemistry of all the MSU players was really great,” described Buisman.

Soccer continues to grow in southern Minnesota thanks to teams such as Mankato United and players like Buisman, who’s one of many that came up through Mankato’s youth program.

”I think we just have a lot of high-level collegiate programs in the area and as the programs grow, people understand they can strive for that next level,” Buisman stated. “Just how invested people are in Mankato to growing soccer. It’s been very impressive. Seeing the semi-pro team and our high school teams be competitive both on the boys and girls side year after year.”

The Gophers’ celebration recognizing Mankato is set to take place on Sunday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

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