Former area and Catholic Memorial athlete Leslie Osborne has received the Meritorious Service Award from the Wisconsin Soccer Association's Hall Of Fame Committee.
The award goes to those who have contributed to the promotion and development of Wisconsin Soccer Association programs over a long period of time.
Osborne, formerly of Brookfield, remains to this day the only female soccer player from Wisconsin to play in a FIFA Women's World Cup. She began her athletic career as a talented tennis and soccer player, but with encouragement from her father, John, she picked soccer - and the rest is Wisconsin soccer history.
Osborne showed early signs of brilliance when she played for John Burke, who was also honored with the award, and Mike Moynihan on the 1996 U-14 Wisconsin ODP team. That team won the ODP Regional Tournament, and Osborne, then 12, played effectively as the left midfielder on that team. She went on to play many successful years of club soccer with FC Milwaukee Nationals and Chicago Eclipse.
During her high school playing career at Catholic Memorial, Osborne led her team to state championships and the NSCAA/Adidas Final No. 1 High School National Ranking in 2000. She twice led the Crusaders to top 10 finishes in the National High School rankings, and led her varsity team to four consecutive Academic All-American Team Awards.
At Catholic Memorial, Osborne recorded 97 goals and 79 assists while leading her prep squad to a 83-5-6 record. At the University of Santa Clara, Leslie earned the NCAA's Honda Award as the nation's top female athlete in her sport, and finished her Bronco career with 44 goals and 34 assists. In addition, she was named the WCC Defender of the Year, becoming the first player in league history to be selected as both the Player of the Year (which she accomplished in 2003) and Defender of the Year.
Osborne also won a women's club national championship, a U-19 FIFA Women's World Cup championship and an NCAA National Championship with the University of Santa Clara. In the U-19 World Cup final, Osborne played in the ball that led to the golden goal to defeat Canada.
During her professional career, Osborne has played in the Women's Professional Soccer league, most recently for the Boston Breakers as their captain, and she has earned 61 caps on the United States Women's National Team.
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