Published May 25, 2022
Written By:  Andrew Conniff
             Central Region Contributor

Salvo SC is not a team to be overlooked heading into the 2022 WPSL season. The 2019 Northern Conference Champs enter their third season with an impressive 11-3-4 overall record. Salvo SC, last season’s Northern Conference runner-up, seems to be preparing for this campaign with real intent.

For Salvo’s head coach, Greg Wheaton, the club’s first year in the league was really good, especially for them to go on to win a conference title. Even with not winning the conference last season, Wheaton says his squad did a lot better than expected with a completely new roster.


“We did have a ton of talent in that group [from last year],” Wheaton said. “We have a core returning from last season and that continuity helps [and]we have a game within two weeks of our first practice, and if we didn’t have that base it would makes things more difficult.”


Returning several experienced players should help Salvo SC in its quick preparation for the season. The core group that Wheaton mentions includes three All-Conference selections from 2021 – Sophia Bowman, Khyah Harper, and Northern Conference Co-Defender of the Year Emily Heslin.

These three are all current or former Minnesota Gophers and will be joined by four other Gophers on this season’s roster. Serving as Salvo’s captain, Wheaton says with Heslin’s leadership and ability she is like having a coach on the field.

It would be an understatement simply to call this roster, “impressive”. Meredith Haakenson joins Salvo this season after playing collegiately at Michigan where she was named Second Team All-Big Ten in 2019. Haakenson appeared in every match of her Michigan career while contributing 16 goals and 11 assists.

Though, the experience in this group goes beyond the WPSL and even beyond the top tier of NCAA Div. I soccer as players will bring in professional and international skills to Salvo’s depth. For instance, Heslin has previously played professionally overseas with Maccabi Hadera (Israel) & Spartak (Serbia).  

Fellow Minnesota Gopher Molly Fiedler, who started every match of her college career and has the second most starts in Minnesota soccer history, has also played with Heslin at Spartak. Wheaton mentioned that Fiedler will be one of the new additions that’ll make an immediate impact on this team.

With the incredible talent in this group, it is impressive how grounded Wheaton keeps himself and the team by focusing on helping the players improve. It is clear Salvo wants to compete and want to win, but it seems to be driven by a culture based on more than results.

Wheaton began coaching in the WPSL as several of his former players requested that he do so. The success that Salvo is building stems from a holistic approach to both player recruitment and training. It is a culture that values development.

There are plenty of new, emerging talents in this team as well including the addition of Lexi Huber who this past fall starred for the University of St. Thomas in its debut season of NCAA Div. I competition. Huber contributed to over half of St. Thomas’ goals with four goals and three assists validating her selection for the Summit All-Freshman Team.

Some of the other notable college programs represented at Salvo this season include North Dakota State, South Dakota State, UW-Milwaukee, Wake Forest, and Wisconsin.

With a group of this ability, there is no hiding the expectations. “I am looking forward to building on from last season,” Heslin said. “I think this team has the potential to win the league.