July 7, 2011
MILWAUKEE - Former Marquette women's soccer standout Ashley Bares is living out a life-long dream of playing professional soccer with UMF Stjarnan of the top-division Urvalsdedild located in Gardabaer, Iceland.
Following an eight-hour flight, Bares arrived in Gardabaer on April 15. She began training camp later that day.
Just as she did at Marquette, Bares made an immediate impact on the team scoring three goals, including two game winners, and an assist in four preseason games to help Stjarnan claim its first preseason championship.
"I've adjusted well," said the former Marquette standout. "Soccer has always been what keeps me going and it still is. It never gets old. I wake up every day to the beautiful view of the mountains outside my window; go to workouts, training sessions and play games. It's everything I wanted, to keep playing soccer and experience it in another place."
After the first two games of the season where she tallied three goals and one assist overall, Bares was named the league's player of the week.
"Getting honored as player of the week was as nice of a surprise for me as it was for our team. It's always great to receive something like that, but it's a nice reminder that we want to keep that going, working hard, and getting wins."
Stjarnan went 3-1 over its next four games, which included a win over the first place team in the division. Bares always had a knack for stepping up in big-game situation, so it was no surprise that she scored both goals in the 2-1 come-from-behind win over IBV to lift Stjarnan to second place in the league standings.
"Our game against IBV was a big game. The 2-1 win moved us into second in the league, which was pretty exciting. I talked to my sister Brittany before the game on Skype and told her that the team we were about to play hadn't been scored on this season. Her response, `okay even better, can't wait to hear about the game.' I also got a email from Markus (Roeders) before the game and he kept it simple, `Shaq, big game today? Let's get it done and score a goal or two or three...' I saw it, smiled and I knew what I had to do. I was ready for IBV and so was my team, scoring the goal to tie the game up was a great feeling, but getting the second one to put us ahead was even better."
Stjarnan advanced to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, also known as VISA-bikar. Bares finished the tournament with four goals. She tallied both goals in a 2-1 win over IBV, and had one strike in wins over Afturelding and Throttur. Stjarnan rebounded from its 1-0 FA Cup quarterfinal loss to Valur with a 3-1 win over Grindavik on July 6. Bares knocked in two goals, including the game winner in the 83rd minute.
Stjarnan stands in second place with an 8-2 record behind league leader Valur. Bares leads the team with nine goals.
"Playing for our team and contributing some goals has been everything I hoped I could come in and do. I wanted to make a difference, and help out our team offensively. I want to keep working hard and hopefully have the hard work will pay off by finding the back of the net. My teammates are very supportive and we want to do something Stjarnan has never done before in the league, so we are taking it one game at a time right now."