Josie Kelderman looks to make her own chapter with family name


Photo by Katerina Pourliakas

Josie Kelderman (14) fights for the ball against Colorado State University Sept. 22.

It was almost destiny for the Glendale, Wisconsin, native to follow in her family’s footsteps when it came to playing Division I soccer.

Her mom and dad both played at the University of Virginia, her older brother plays at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her dad is in his seventh season as the head coach at UWM. 

“All we talk about at my house is soccer,” freshman Josie Kelderman said. “Pretty much every night there is a soccer game up on the TV, so it is something I grew up with. … My brother and I would play pickup (games) a lot (and get in) lots of arguments and fighting but it was fun. It helped me in the long run.”

She said it was a childhood dream of hers to play at the same college as her brother. But when the time came to make her decision, the defender made her own choice.

“That whole Kelderman type of thing would have been awesome, but as I got older, I just felt like I wanted to do something different from him and my dad,” Kelderman said. “I wanted to create my own path, make my name known somewhere else but still be closer to them.”

Fast forward to September 2019, and she is now a part of the crosstown rivalry as her brother Jake and her dad play and coach at UWM, respectively.

Along with seeing her brother and dad take on Marquette in the past, Kelderman’s high school was just 15 minutes away from Marquette, so it was an easy decision.

“It had everything I wanted: small school, big sports, huge family atmosphere,” Kelderman said. 

The relationship between the coaches during the recruiting process was another thing that influenced Kelderman’s decision.

“Right off the bat, Markus (Roeders) and Nick (Vorberg) … had something different from the other coaches I had talked to,” Kelderman said. “They are super outgoing and wanted to make me feel (like) I was at home,” Kelderman said.

Marquette had some advantages when scouting the midfielder/defender: Marquette assistant coach Ashley Bares also coaches on Kelderman’s club team, North Shore United.

“(Ashley) was able to see Josie play a lot and see her grow,” Vorberg said. “She is versatile. We knew what we were getting. She is special.”

Vorberg said she is at “another level” of speed and athleticism and can play several different positions. Kelderman has already started six of the team’s first eight games this season.

Kelderman and Vorberg attributed the marketing major’s strong start to her preparedness for the rigors of college soccer.

I do think with my dad being a college coach helped,” Kelderman said. “I (was) able to understand the process that really goes with his team ever since I was about 12 years old. So I kinda knew what I had to come in and do and go my hardest.” 

Another thing that prepared her according to Vorberg was the rigorous preseason they go through.

“We are able to see what players can do, can’t do, see their weaknesses and strengthens,” Vorberg said. “Another part of it had to do with the number of seniors we lost last year, so there were a lot of opportunities left for these players that are on our team.”

Kelderman has made a much-needed impact on offense. In the team’s road game vs. Minnesota, she made a memory that she won’t ever forget: scoring her first collegiate goal. 

“Well, I didn’t think it was going to happen at first, but the ball just got flicked to my feet, (I) took a touch and smashed it,” Kelderman said. “I remember seeing it curve right underneath the goal post and just remember screaming. (I) almost blacked out for a second. It was just like a feeling I don’t think I will ever forget.” 

Kelderman’s goal is one of just four goals of the season for the Golden Eagles. 

Emily Hess, Macey Shock and Kylie Sprecher are the other Golden Eagles who have scored this year.

Prior to coming to Marquette, Kelderman won six Wisconsin club soccer championships with North Shore United. The 5-foot-6 freshman plans to bring that winning experience from Glendale to Marquette. 

“Winning those six times, I knew what it was like to win in Wisconsin,” Kelderman said. “That is something that I really wanted to bring in and try to do the same thing. … If we all have our mentalities, togetherness, connectedness we can really do it.”