December of 2021 was a full circle moment in Hannah Seabert’s professional soccer career. At the age of 26 Hannah found herself with gloves on and in the goal. As the game was starting Hannah was commanding her teammates, surrounded by thousands of cheering fans as she was getting ready to face off against Sandviken at the Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo, Norway. This was no ordinary game in that the winner would walk away with the prestigious title of the Norwegians Women’s Cup National Champions, and yet this game meant more than just a win or loss to Hannah. It meant a shot at redemption.
Just one year earlier, Hannah had spent a majority of the season playing goalkeeper for her team as they competed in the single elimination Norwegian Women’s Cup. However, because of coaching decisions Hannah’s position as goalkeeper was replaced in the final match of the Cup. Hannah shared, “Although I was happy for my team, and happy for the other goalkeeper who is one of my best friends and teammates, not being selected to be goalkeeper after working all year in the position really made me question my skill and had shaken my confidence.”
“…not being selected to be goalkeeper after working all year in the position really made me question my skill and had shaken my confidence.”
One year later Hannah’s team had once again made it through to the Cup finals, but this time Hannah was getting her shot to prove her skills and had a chance at redemption. Hannah shares that just being able to play that night had already brought the closure she needed, and win or lose, starting as goalkeeper was already enough. Hannah walked off the field as a champion that night with her team, Valerenga, winning 2-1. Hannah says, “I felt an incredible sense of accomplishment and pride in what my team and I had accomplished. Energy coursed through me as the fans chanted my name while cheering for us.” Hannah had found her moment amidst the challenge.
Hannah expressed her thankfulness after the game and shared how the Lord knew that this night of closure, of redeeming the previous difficult year, was just what she needed. On top of the full circle closure, Hannah also had her parents in the crowd who flew out from the states to support her. This topped the night off for Hannah. In respect to her future playing soccer, as Hannah had decided to continue her career at a new club the following season, she was happy to end her time in Oslo on a high.
While this was a peak moment in Hannah’s soccer career, it has been the dedication and longevity of Hannah’s commitment to soccer that set her apart from the crowd.
Hannah began playing soccer at the age of nine and played for FC Legends. While at Woodcrest Christian, Hannah played four years of varsity soccer where she had 31 shutouts, 277 saves and allowed 41 goals. To this day, Hannah holds many Woodcrest Christian records. She earned All-CIF honors three times and collected three first team All-Ambassador League selections.
Upon graduating from Woodcrest Christian, Hannah continued her love of soccer on a full ride athletic scholarship playing for Pepperdine University from 2013-2017 while studying Sports Administration. Hannah left her mark on this school and finished her career with a program-record 331 saves in 82 games played, finished second in career wins with 46, third with a 0.90 goals against average, third with 28 career solo shutouts, fourth with a career .813 save percentage, and fifth with 4.03 saves per game.
During her senior year at Pepperdine, Hannah attended the U23 National Team camp. This is a camp of potential, future soccer players whose primary role is the development of players in preparation for the full Women’s National Team. While this was very exciting, it was the same week as the college draft which ultimately Hannah did not get selected for. Being her greatest dream at this point, the news that she did not get selected to play nationally was, “one of the hardest moments in my soccer career and made me question a lot,” she says.
In the disappointment of not being selected for the college draft, Hannah saw God’s hand in that she was scouted and trained with the Orlando Pride’s goalkeeper coach at the U23 camp. In this next season of life, Hannah would be bumping shoulders with the likes of Alex Morgan and other professional athletes. Hannah was not yet necessarily playing but got to train with the best in the sport.
From this training Hannah connected and signed with her first European team, Fortuna Hjørring in Denmark. Hannah describes playing for this team as “successful and was a great initial European experience.” She continues, “This is where I realized living and playing abroad would be a long term pursuit for me.” During Hannah’s first year playing for Fortuna Hjørring, her team were Danish league champions and came in second place the following year. On top of being league champions, Hannah’s success on this team brought her first experience playing in the Champions League, a very notable European competition where the top teams from each country compete against each other to crown the champion of Europe.
“This is where I realized living and playing abroad would be a long term pursuit for me.”
While playing in Denmark was great, Hannah wanted to move onto a more competitive league which led her to play for Vålerenga, a team that plays in Norway’s top league, Toppserien.
Again, it was while she was playing for Vålerenga where Hannah won the 2020 Norwegian League Title (qualifying them for Champions League) and the Norwegian Women’s Cup, and in 2021 also winning the Norwegian Women’s Cup. This is very noteworthy as this was Hannah’s second appearance in the Champions League.
After playing in Norway, Hannah has since moved to Lisbon, Portugal and is playing for Sporting Clube de Portugal Feminino. Hannah shares how excited she is to play in a big city, and continues to progress higher in more competitive leagues. It was in this club and league that famous men’s soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo began his career.
Overall, Hannah demonstrates the unique life of a professional athlete while still remaining grounded in her relationship with Jesus. When asked what impact Woodcrest Christian has made on her life Hannah shared about the Biblical foundation offered through coaches, teachers, missions trips leaders, and the Woodcrest Christian community as a whole.
Hannah has traveled across 16 different countries and has called 3 different countries home just in Europe.
Having a career that involves lots of travel Hannah shares the beauty of seeing faith expressed in different cultures globally, and yet seeing the same fundamental truths retained across cultures. Despite the nomadic lifestyle, Hannah credits the influence of her family, her church and the Biblical truth taught at Woodcrest Christian in what has kept her grounded.
Overall, Hannah’s soccer career has been marked with both success and difficulty. Early in her career Hannah saw disappointment turned into opportunity, she saw a bruised confidence redeemed into victory playing for Norwegian Women’s Cup in 2021, and now is seeing a bright horizon of opportunity once again playing in Portugal. If one thing is sure it is that Hannah lets few goals get past her and she is a keeper!