From High School to College sports

Edgar Ayala – General Assignment Reporter

Making the transition of playing sports in high school and into college can be overwhelming. Settling into a new team with new players and not knowing whether you are going to start are things that run through the minds of Southern’s student-athletes.  

Freshmen Taylor Bilyak, soccer player for SCSU, said the idea of whether she is starting is always on her mind, but added that no one has a guaranteed spot in Coach Adam Cohen’s starting 11.   

“Everyone has to fight for their spot,” Bilyak said. “In college it’s going to be more challenging for me because the level of competition is dramatically higher.”

“But if given the opportunity, I would be very excited to be a starter for Coach Cohen. I am happy to help the team in any way, whether it’s on or off the field.”  

On the other hand, freshman Megan Richardson, goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team, said she feels confident to start the opener against LUI Post, despite competition between the posts with junior Erica Ridella.   

I feel confident to start the first game season,” Richardson said. “But at the end of the day it’s all down to the coach’s decision. They will put the best players on the field to get the result we are looking for.”

In the case of soccer player Juliana Santos, she has no option but to sit and watch from the sidelines due to an ACL injury she encountered this year.  

Santos, who won’t be able to see action until the spring of 2016, said despite her injury she still attends the team’s practices in order to settle down with the team and to see the team’s style of play.    

While some freshman may have a hard time settling into a new environment, Richardson didn’t have an issue with learning to meet new people as she was on the Massachusetts Olympic Development Program, where she met new people all over New England.      

According to the Olympic Development Program website, it is a program where they identify and develop elite players in the most challenging and competitive environment. ODP is devoted entirely to the development of the individual player with only his or her best interests in mind.

This program has caused Richardson to improve her individual performances as a goalkeeper and build her social skills, she said.  

“The first day of preseason I was observing tendencies that certain players had, as well as getting to know the girls, like I did in the program,” she said.

“By observing tendencies, especially the back line and the midfielders it helps the goalkeeper make the right decision when it comes to distribution, communication and match-ups on the field.”  

In addition to settling down, according to Santos, the time commitment is the hardest part of transitioning from a high school athlete to college.  

“You invest a lot into the sport,” she said. “In high school we would only meet for practice or games a couple hours a day.  Here we meet every day for double and even triple sessions.”  

Photo Credit: Kari



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