TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – It was a great service, but an even better goal.
Sophomore Beata Olsson scored one of the most memorable goals in school history in Florida State’s 5-2 victory over Florida on September 2. Her bicycle-style kick from the top of the 6-yard box, which gave the Seminoles a 2-1 lead, proved to be the game-winning goal against the rival Gators. The win was Florida State’s fourth consecutive – the longest winning streak for the Seminoles in the 28-game series.
For Olsson, the first-year Seminole after transferring from Florida, the goal was so much more about the pass from senior midfielder Yujie Zhao.
“I saw the ball go behind me and realized I could reach it with my foot, so I gave it a shot,” said Olsson. “It was an instinct, but I probably wouldn’t have done it if the ball from Yujie wasn’t as good as it was.”
Olsson, who enters Thursday’s game against Pitt as the Seminoles’ leading scorer, is the first to admit that she and a couple of her teammates actually practiced the move in the days leading up to their game against the Gators.
“I have never scored a goal like that before, and honestly did not think I would anytime soon,” said Olsson. “I have practiced it for fun every now and then since I was little. Funny thing was I actually practiced it with Jae (Jaelin Howell) and Lei (LeiLanni Nesbeth) a few practices before the Florida game, so maybe it stuck that time.”
Olsson, once a competitive figure skater in her native Sweden, had additional motivation for performing well against Florida.
She began her collegiate career at Florida, leading the Gators with seven goals during the 2020 season.
Following a coaching change in Gainesville, she found a home in Tallahassee.
“I have the most respect for the Florida program and all my friends there,” said Olsson. “I always want to see them succeed, just not against us.”
Still, Olsson was nervous leading up to the Seminoles’ game against Florida.
“The game against Florida was both fun and a little anxious for me,” said Olsson. “I know the players well and have a lot of respect for them as people and players. I knew there would be some emotion because of that. I always play to win, so the game was no different from others in that sense. I really enjoyed playing, and it was fun to experience the rivalry between the schools.”
Olsson quickly took to wearing Garnet and Gold and was immediately welcomed by the Florida State coaching staff and her new teammates.
“Beata has come in, and made a great impression on our team,” said Head Coach Mark Krikorian who has led the Seminoles to the nation’s No. 1 ranking for the fourth consecutive season. “She has a professional attitude, a professional mentality, and works hard every day. She is becoming a leader for our team, on and off the field, as well. She is going to have a great career at Florida State.”
Though just a sophomore, Olsson quickly acclimated herself onto the Seminoles’ roster, which is dominated by experienced upperclassmen.
“As a person, Beata has come into the team and fit right in,” said Junior Jenna Nighswonger. “From when we first met her, she has been outgoing, funny, and is really supportive on and off the field. Playing with her has been an amazing experience. She handles herself professionally, and it shows on the field with how many goals she has scored. I have a lot of fun playing with her because she does so well at putting herself in dangerous spots around the box.”
Putting herself in dangerous spots is one of the ways Olsson describes her style of play.
“I would say my best attribute in the field is that I often end up in good positions in the box, which allows me scoring opportunities. I would assume that is thanks to a good sense of the play.”
Though Florida State was not among her choices when making her initial college choice, Olsson was sold on Florida State during her visit to Tallahassee.
“I looked at schools that usually compete at the top with Florida State,” said Olsson. “It was quite obvious for me to choose to go here; because this team and this coaching staff are the best in the country.”
Krikorian’s incredible ability as both a teacher and a tactician, along with her teammates’ skill, is certainly an important reason for the Seminoles’ high level of consistency in collegiate soccer. The Seminoles have won two national championships and played in the NCAA championship game this past spring.
“I really want to take the opportunity to become as good as I can both tactically and technically here at Florida State,” said Olsson. “College sports have great resources and I will try to make the most out of my time here. I know the resources and help I can get here will help me be prepared when I decide to become a professional player.”
A member of the Swedish National Team since the age of 15, Olsson returned from her the Netherlands on Tuesday after playing with the Sweden U23 team.
The opportunity to improve as a player and as a member of the Florida State side and the Swedish team is very appealing to the Environmental Science major.
“I have had the opportunity to play with great players on the national team,” said
Olsson. “The level of the trainings are always very high. It forces me to make quicker decisions as well as to develop my tactical game.”
Quick decisions like the one that landed her on the SportsCenter Top 10 for an incredible goal.