Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?
We are a Christ-centered university, so first and foremost we want student-athletes who love Christ and want to use their sport as a means to honor Him. Along with that we want players that are willing to work hard in all aspects of life. They work hard in the classroom (our team has been named an All-Academic team the last 3 seasons with several individuals receiving academic honors as well) because they are here to be students first, then athletes. They work hard on the field by pushing themselves at practice regardless of if they are starters or not. Each member of our team is key to our success and everyone needs to be working as hard as they can for the team to do well. Players who start are pushed to keep their spot and people “below” them are working to get into the starting lineup. Hard work can mean staying after practice to work on individual technical skills or going out on your own to get in some extra fitness. We want players that go above and beyond what we ask of them. The third quality is a love for your teammates. We say that we win and lose as a team and that “we are one.” Not everyone is going to get to play in games but the people on the bench are just as important as those on the field. Your love for the team should be strong enough that you can enjoy your teammates success because you know that it is your success too. Also, your love for you team should motivate you to work hard and be the best you can be. You know that if you fail to train or fail to work hard that it hurts your teammates as well as you.
Could you give us an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?
We have a team full of amazing women and there are several of them that have exceeded expectations. One in particular is a defender who embodies what it means to be a team player. She starts every game for us and plays the whole time, but works just as hard as a player fighting for playing time. In practice she pushes her teammates and herself in training exercises to be sharper, faster, and better. She likes to say “If you’re not messing up you’re not working hard enough” meaning that if you’re pushing yourself to reach that next level and forcing yourself to play better, more than likely you’ll make some mistakes on your way up there. But, by practicing at that level, eventually your mistakes should become less and your play should be elevated. She also is a great encouragement to her teammates. She can be heard on the field spurring her teammates on and being a leader in the back. She is her harshest critic and is always asking for ways to improve, even though she is one of the best players on our team. She works hard to be better and asks her teammates to work hard with her. She is everything we look for in a player and more importantly a person.