The Houston Dash announced the resigning of defender Annika Creel to a new contract. It's ok if you don't recognize the name. She originally signed with the Dash as Annika Schmidt ahead of the 2021 season.
Creel, from Zionsville, Indiana, played her collegiate ball for the Butler Bulldogs. She made 50 starts during her college career graduating in 2019 and then heading overseas to play professionally at Gotenberg FC. An ACL injury on the practice pitch in 2022 derailed her season with the Dash.
Creel says her faith in God is what helped carry her through the injury to this moment. When the injury first occurred, she had thought she broke her tibia but as it turned out it was the ACL and meniscus. She has spent the past 8 months rehabbing with the medical team from the Houston Dash.
She recalls after the injury that two of her teammates Emily Ogle and Michelle Alozie took her hand and prayed over her. It was something that cemented her desire to be a part of this team if given another opportunity.
Following the injury days later, Creel shared on her Instagram page her belief that God would use this for a testimony.
"I truly believe God will turn this painful and heart breaking experience, in to a testimony to glorify Him and His kingdom. God is with you, He is in you and He will never leave you. In the last few days, I have been overwhelmed by God’s strength and peace that surpasses all understanding. I know this will not be easy AT ALL, but I have the greatest support network. My Dash teammates and staff, my trainers, my family, my friends, my fiancé and most importantly God walking with me each step of the way. I love you all so much! Lastly, stay encouraged. Evil will try to get a foothold, but God is your cornerstone and is alway victorious. Just on the other side of a little detour is God’s miracle for you. Let go and Let God. I can’t wait to be back on the pitch soon."
The announcement today brings the story full circle and her discipleship on the pitch will continue in 2023. The club carries a an option for 2024 if all goes well.
“I'm so grateful that Alex and the staff believe that I can contribute to the team and make an impact next season,” Creel said. “I'm super excited and feel really blessed for this opportunity.”