Best Places to Live

Appleton, WI

Population: 73,118
Photo: Jeff Elmer

Soccer fans in Appleton, WI, are celebrating the achievement of a hometown star who has become the city's first player to go pro.

Sara Hagen, who grew up in Appleton and was ranked as one of the top college players in the nation, was recently selected in the first round of the Women's Professional Soccer league draft by the Philadelphia Independence. Hagen is one of many players who've made the move from club to college soccer in Appleton.

The Appleton Soccer Club, the largest soccer club in northeast Wisconsin, has an average of 2,000 players each year. There are several smaller clubs in surrounding communities. The USA Youth Soccer Field Complex offers 15 fields for tournament play. The complex was the site of US Youth Soccer's Midwest Regional Tournament in 2005 and 2011.

Appleton North High School, Hagen's alma mater, is consistently ranked as one of the top soccer teams in the state. Soccer is played year round in Appleton, and Futsal has become a popular indoor variation of the game during winter months. 

What else is here:

The city of Appleton has 24 neighborhood parks that range from 2 acres to 16 acres, four community parks as large as 140 acres, three community pools, several hiking, biking and walking trails, and boat access to the Fox River.

Outagamie County has a pair of natural areas, three dog parks, six trail systems, and six access points to the Fox River.