Surprising story: Iowa basketball star Caitlin Clark has been a competitor since early days on youth soccer field. So what makes her play basketball and become the hottest name in college basketball? HISTORICAL TURNING POINT👇👇

Clark’s drive was evident long before she became the hottest name in college basketball

DES MOINES, IOWA – Before Caitlin Clark became the NCAA record setter, the advertising goldmine and the most exciting women’s basketball player on the court, she was simply Caitlin.

Caitlin the soccer player. The competitive kid. The athlete willing to try her hand at a variety of sports.

To understand who the Iowa basketball star – who will play for the Hawkeyes in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night against UT-Martin/Holy Cross – you have to go back to her childhood.

Clark has scored an NCAA Division I record 3,771 points. She’s earned multiple All-American honors and was named the Naismith Women’s National Player of the Year. Her long-range 3-point baskets and dazzling passes have drawn celebrity fans like hip-hop performer Travis Scott and Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.

When Lily Overstreet, a former youth soccer teammate who grew up in the Des Moines area, watches Clark launch buzzer-beating baskets on TV, her mind flashes back to when they were 11-year-olds.

“She was very intense, a fierce competitor,” Overstreet said. “Even from an early age, she would do what it took to win. You always wanted to be on her team.”

Overstreet and Clark were teammates from 11U to 14U. Clark played for two seasons at West Des Moines Dowling Catholic High School before concentrating on basketball. Overstreet now plays soccer at Drake University in Des Moines.

Caitlin Clark (pictured in the middle of the back row) starred in soccer at an early age as she tried many sports and activities including basketball. (Submitted photo)

Caitlin Clark (pictured in the middle of the back row) starred in soccer at an early age as she tried many sports and activities including basketball. (Submitted photo)

Clark was the type of player that would do whatever she needed to do to help her team. As an 11-year-old, the keeper on her club team was injured during a match and couldn’t play. Clark switched out her jersey and stepped into the goal – even though her role had been as a scorer and playmaker.

Even in an unnatural position, Clark fit in, arms outreached and shifting her body back and forth in goal to keep the opponents from scoring. Inexperienced, but naturally skilled beyond her years.

“She kind of looked like Spider-Man in the net,” Overstreet said.

Clark played a key role in the match and her team won.

Watch Clark on the TV screen and you’ll see an athlete who is loaded with confidence and wants to win. Part of that desire comes from her parents and extended family. Both dad Brent and mom Anne were good athletes; Brent is a member of the Simpson (Iowa) College athletic Hall of Fame in basketball and baseball. Her cousin Audrey Faber was a basketball star at Creighton. Grandfather Bob Nizzi was a football coach.

“She kind of looked like Spider-Man in the net,” Overstreet said.

Clark played a key role in the match and her team won.

Watch Clark on the TV screen and you’ll see an athlete who is loaded with confidence and wants to win. Part of that desire comes from her parents and extended family. Both dad Brent and mom Anne were good athletes; Brent is a member of the Simpson (Iowa) College athletic Hall of Fame in basketball and baseball. Her cousin Audrey Faber was a basketball star at Creighton. Grandfather Bob Nizzi was a football coach.

That desire to compete was fed to her.

“It probably comes from both of our families,” Brent Clark said.

Even during holiday “white elephant” gift exchanges, family members would argue and shout over wrapped packages.

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