There’s a lot more to Cody Niedermeier, the starting goalkeeper on the University of Maryland
men’s soccer team, than one would think by just looking at him.
For starters, his name isn’t even Cody. It’s Dakota Dale Niedermeier.
“Going to be completely honest, I’ve asked my parents several times and every time they say,
‘Oh just a nickname for Dakota.’ There’s literally nothing behind it, it’s weird,”
said Niedermeier, when asked why he is called Cody.
Niedermeier is in his fifth year at the school and will be graduating this December with a degree in marketing.
“I’m the old guy on the team.”
Head Coach Sasho Cirovski calls Niedermeier, the “Team Mother.”
“Off the field, he’s the warmest player I have ever coached,” Cirovski said. “He’s the first person to welcome any recruit, any newcomer. [And he] is always asking for ways he can help.”
Niedermeier is all about lending a helping hand, and does as much as possible.
“I love the community service projects whether it’s doing things for Terp-A-Thon or participating in TerpsGiving; basically anything I can get my hands on with the community I love to do. My parents just raised me that way,” Niedermeier said. “It’s nice to give back to people.”
For the past three years, the Maryland Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has hosted TerpsGiving, where it provides Thanksgiving dinners to families in need.
Niedermeier has a huge influence both on and off the field, Cirovski said.
“He’s an inspiration to players in our locker room and hopefully to potential players out there as well,” Cirovski said.
Recently, Niedermeier participated in the Carpool Karaoke video, a spinoff of the recurring bit performed on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Various Maryland teams were featured while singing along to the Miley Cyrus song “Party in the U.S.A.”
“It was a blast! I’m a weird individual and when I do things I go all out,” Niedermeier said on being in the video.
“Being here I’ve built a good relationship with the marketing department and they said ‘You should get in the car and do this,’ I went in and of course I knew every word, so I went full out with a couple guys on the team,” he said.
Playing soccer and coming to the University of Maryland have been on Niedermeier’s radar for a long time.
His parents met at Maryland and he grew up in Maryland, so going to the “hometown school” was always a first option.
Niedermeier has been familiar with the Terps’ soccer program since he was young. “I used to be a ball boy at games, so it’s always been a dream to get out on the field and play,” he said.
When he was growing up, he played every sport imaginable and loved them all but eventually soccer “kind of just took over,” he said.
“It was something that my Dad and I could relate to. My Dad played a little bit in college as a goalie so I think it just stems from that. That’s where my passion came from,” Niedermeier said.
Niedermeier, however, fell into the position of goalie, simply because no one else wanted to play the position.
“My Dad was the coach, so he would just put me in at keeper so he wouldn’t have to worry about anyone else,” Niedermeier said. “I just fell in love with it and it ended up working out for me.”
Cirovski said that Niedermeier excels at not over-guessing when he’s in goal, which is very important for goalkeepers.
“On the field, Cody is a terrific leader,” Cirovski said. “He understands the game and he is very vocal and engaged in the game always.”
Niedermeier has bounced back from multiple injuries, making this only his second season starting in between the pipes.
“Cody is able to see the big picture,” Cirovski said. “He took adversity head on; he found ways to be player without being on the field.”
For his final season, Niedermeier wants to bring the soccer program a national championship.
“I’ve been here a while and its always been a dream. While we have had success in the conference tournaments, which I hope to continue again this year, bringing home that big one would be something really special. That legacy would last forever, which is really cool, and I would get to have my name on it, which would be awesome,” he said.
When Niedermeier’s final season comes to a close, he hopes to continue to play, but if not he will definitely be in the sports world in some way, whether that might be in coaching or perhaps even marketing.
“Sports have had such an impact on my life that it’s something I want to remain around in any way that I can,” Niedermeier said.
One of his favorite things about Maryland is the relationships he has built with the entire athletic department, calling it “one huge family,” as well as being able to branch out and find close friends outside of sports.
“There are so many people here and the relationships you build here are ones that can last forever which is pretty cool,” Niedermeier said.
More Than Meets The Eye is a special presentation of umterps.com.
Jess Nocera is a senior in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland and is a contributing writer to umterps.com.
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