Paige Nielsen became the first-ever Nebraska native to be drafted into the NWSL back in 2016 by Seattle Reign FC. The Cornhusker State would be hard-pressed to find a better representative of what makes their state special.
While she’s been battled the age-old stereotypical questions about driving a tractor to school or if all Nebraskans live on farms, Paige loves her home state. “What’s cool about Nebraska is that we have really good schools and state pride,” she told BGN. In addition to the love that the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team gets and the amazing celebrations on the Fourth of July, Paige can pinpoint the most special thing about Nebraska. “I would say the people are the best thing about Nebraska. We love people,” she emphasized. “And everyone goes out of their way to make another person’s day. It’s an easy life in NE and now I am feeling nostalgic about how we all just seem like one big family.”
That state pride extends to famous natives of the state like actress and author, Gabrielle Union. Paige said, “I had the opportunity to meet Gabrielle Union actually at my Budweiser fellowship program provided to some NWSL players. It was a very proud Nebraskan moment. I doubt she remembers, but I will cherish that forever.” While she had to look up Omaha’s own world champion boxer Terence “Bud” Crawford, she added that Nebraskans are also proud of the University of Nebraska products in the NFL or from their illustrious volleyball program. “I am working to change the narrative and make women’s soccer players hold the same weight,” she added.