Nikki Washington is one of the quickest, hardest working, and most intelligent up-and-coming young soccer players today, and is poised to make a splash on the professional and international scene in 2010. Hailing from the prestigious University of North Carolina program, she has already enjoyed tremendous success throughout her career (including winning three NCAA Championships with the Tarheels) thanks to her athleticism, tireless work ethic and uncanny playmaking ability.
Growing up in Mesquite, Texas, Nikki thrived in both the club and scholastic soccer scenes from a young age. For her club team performance, she was named an NSCAA Youth All-American in 2003, 2004, and 2005, coinciding with three consecutive Premier League Championships. In her first two years of high school, Washington led her school in scoring and was named the 2003 Dallas Area Freshman of the Year. Showing dedication in the classroom as well as on the field, she graduated a year early in 2005, when she was also named a Parade Magazine All-American. Nikki entered UNC as one of the top recruits in the country.
From the first time she put on Tarheel blue, Nikki was a force to be reckoned with on the field because of her dynamic presence as a playmaker. As a freshman at UNC, she tied an NCAA record by playing in and starting all 28 matches during the 2006 season, and earned a myriad of awards, including being a freshman All-America and All-ACC honoree. Washington was instrumental in her team’s national championship run, scoring the game winning goal in the quarterfinals and contributing a number of assists throughout the tournament. Things continued to heat up in her sophomore season, as she was named Most Valuable Player of the ACC tournament following her heroic performance that led UNC to its eighteenth conference crown. Nikki showed incredible versatility and dynamism in that tournament, switching positions from midfield to striker. Despite dividing time between her national and collegiate teams during her junior year, she managed to earn even more accolades as a first-team All-ACC selection and member of the All-ACC Tournament Team. Nikki scored the game winning goal to propel the Heels past Boston College in the ACC Tournament semifinals on the way to yet another conference championship, and ultimately another NCAA Tournament Championship. After a promising start to her senior year, Nikki was sidelined after just six games with a season-ending injury.
Washington’s extensive experience with US National Soccer began prior to her arrival at UNC as a member of the U16 and U17 National Teams. She gained further notoriety on the international stage as a member of the U20 team which made it to the 2007 Pan American Games gold medal match. Nikki started at forward in both the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament and the 2008 U20 World Championships, which the US went on to win. In addition, she was a member of the U23 National Team in 2009.
Washington was selected 5th overall in the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer draft. She will play her first professional season with the WPS as a member of New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC, the league’s reigning champions.
Nikki’s formal name is Madeline Nicole Washington. She is the daughter of Freida and Lecolion Washington, and she has two brothers and one sister. Her older brother, Brandon, who Nikki credits for having a strong influence on her athletic career, played soccer for Swarthmore College. If she weren’t pursuing a career in soccer, she would like to be a teacher of young children, because she thinks they are amazing.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
2003: NSCAA Youth All-America Selection
2008: NCAA Championship
2009: NCAA Championship