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SOCCER: Noah Johnson finds fit at Northern Michigan for sports, lifestyle

Noah Johnson committed to the Wildcats on Friday at the high school, and he’s landing in a spot that suits his interests on and off the pitch.

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Bemidji senior Noah Johnson, third from left, committed to Northern Michigan men's soccer program on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, at BHS. He was joined by, from left, his mother Erika, brother Reed and father Matt.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- For Noah Johnson, the decision wasn’t just about athletics.

He may be landing at a Division II program, but Johnson also wanted an outdoors community to immerse himself in.

“It wasn’t all about the soccer,” the Bemidji High School senior said. “It was mostly about the environment of the college. If I couldn’t play soccer, would I still like to go to school there? I know at Northern Michigan, if I (can’t play), I’ll still like the community and want to be a part of it.”

Johnson committed to the Wildcats on Friday at the high school, and he’s landing in a spot that suits his interests on and off the pitch.

“It’s a super outdoors-y city,” Johnson said of Marquette, Mich. “There’s a lot of stuff you can do outside the school. I love to mountain bike and snowboard and stuff.”

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When Johnson toured schools last summer, Northern Michigan was his first stop. It quickly proved to be the spot where he envisioned his future. Johnson said he “just fell in love with everything about it,” which includes an opportunity to attain a degree in wildlife biology or forestry.

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Bemidji senior Noah Johnson (10) shoots in the second half against Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, at Bemidji Middle School.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

As he enters into the Wildcats’ program next fall, Johnson is hopeful to sharpen his own skillset as well as those around him.

“I just love to compete at all times. No matter what we’re doing, I’ll try the best I can,” he said. “I know I’ll improve a lot from playing with the people there, and I’ll make sure that (my teammates) can improve from playing me too.”

And Johnson’s Lumberjack upbringing has a lot to do with that, he said.

“I’ve been able to benefit from the program they’ve built here,” Johnson said. “Over the past four seasons or so, they’ve been extremely successful. I’ve been able to hop onto that winning mentality and experience it. … They give you the opportunity to thrive and do your best.”

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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