Nora Abolins won the 2015 League1 Ontario women's title with Durham United FC, and for her outstanding contributions (eleven clean sheets!) Abolins was also chosen to the all-star team, elected League1 MVP, and took home the Goalkeeper of the Year award.
Now she's been signed to a pro contract by QBIK Karlstad in the Swedish second division.
"Sweden is a top country for women's soccer so I'm humbled to get this opportunity on my first trial," said Abolins.
"My advice would be to never give up, no matter what circumstances you are in, sacrifices you have to make, or injuries that happen," she added. "If you want it bad enough then with time, hard work, and determination it will happen!"
"I'm very happy I was able to play League1 for Durham United in 2015 and have made life long connections. I myself was coming back from an injury so the collection of high quality players provided good competition and team atmosphere to get back in the game and test my skills."
Originally from Belleville, Ontario, Abolins has gone strength to strength in her career. An alumnus of University of Detroit-Mercy and University of Western Kentucky, Abolins is ranked 25th in the all-time NCAA record books after posting 33 clean sheets from 2010-2013.
"Playing four years in NCAA Division I definitely has played a huge role, not only in my development as a soccer player, but overall preparation as a professional," explained Abolins.
"It is a very professionally run organization and teaches you at a young age what is expected of you both on and off the field. Being expected to train and play at your very best everyday helps mentally prepare you for what you have to do on game day, no matter who you are playing for or against. League1 provided a good transition platform from NCAA, before trying overseas."
In landing the trial in Sweden, Abolins benefitted from Durham United FC's networks, primarily working with men's head coach Sanford Carabin, who is involved with Performance Sport Group Agency, and training with the men's side to prepare and sharpen for the trial period.
"Playing for Durham United I was fortunate enough to train with the men’s team regularly as a goalkeeper," revealed Abolins.
"My trial experience was very quick! I had three days to show my skill, one training session with the first team and a preseason match before they were to make their decision."
"Luckily, in Sweden most people speak English, so after a quick introduction with the girls I was able to communicate effectively during the game. That night I received a phone call from the sporting director offering me a place on the team and to stay! I’m very thankful, everyone at QBIK has been incredibly nice and helpful."
Yet although Abolins has been travelling throughout North America, and now Europe, chasing her dreams of turning professional, she is quick to give credit where it's due.
"If possible can you put a little 'Thanks Mom!' in there somewhere?" concluded Abolins. "She is my rock and without her support I would not be here."