By Talia Speaker ‘18
How long have you been playing soccer?
Since I was five. I started playing club when I was about eight and continued on to play all four years in high school. I knew from a young age that I wanted to play in college, but I also really wanted to be in an academic environment where I could focus on school as well as soccer. Playing for the Claremont McKenna-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) team really allows me to do both, which is great.
How do you balance soccer with academics?
Soccer has kept me really busy during my first semester. I have practice for two hours every day except for Sundays, so balancing that with Core and all of my other classes has been challenging at times. But having a busy soccer schedule has forced me to have better time management skills and to create a better routine.
What has it been like being the only first year from Scripps?
Being the only Scripps first year is hard in some ways, because I’m not taking any of the same classes as my teammates, so my work schedule doesn’t always line up with theirs, and we can’t work together on homework at all. But in terms of the team as a whole, I’m not treated any differently for being a Scripps student. There are also two seniors and a sophomore from Scripps on the team who I’ve been able to look up to and get academic help from when I need it.
How is the team dynamic off the field, and how does that affect the dynamic on the field?
The soccer team is kind of like a sorority of sorts. There are girls of varying ages and we do a lot of team bonding activities. We really do enjoy spending time together outside of soccer, which bodes for a better team chemistry on the field. I think this is because spending time bonding off of the field makes us more comfortable with each other and helps us understand each other’s personalities, which helps us know how to communicate with each player on the field in a way that will be effective for them specifically.
What is your coach like?
Keri Sanchez is in her eleventh season here, and her experience really shows. She sets goals for us at the beginning of each game, but then sort of lets us take it from there and play our own game on the field.
What is your pre-game routine?
We have a lot of fun in the locker room before each game. We listen to music and dance, just to come together as a group and get rid of any pre-game stress. We also have “PUBs,” or pump-up buddies. Each player is paired up with another player who is not in their year, and you write little notes and give them small gifts before each game to sort of get them in the zone. We have the same PUBs all season, so you end up building a great relationship with that person.
You have had an impressive season so far. Where do you see the team going from here?
This Saturday we will play our final SCIAC [Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference] league game against Pitzer/Pomona. We are currently first place in league, so this match we will be playing to keep that position and earn the championship title. If we win the title, we get to host the SCIAC tournament, which will include the top four teams from league play, and then the winner of that tournament will get a bid into the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] tournament. We feel very confident going into this final league match, hoping to secure a home field advantage [for the SCIAC tournament] for our seniors. We’ve been focusing a lot on winning for the seniors, because their class has never won a SCIAC title, and getting to play again on the home field is really important for them.
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