**Athlete Interviews are posted every Thursday for recruiting advice, what to look for, and more.
Reese is a Junior goalkeeper for the Women’s Soccer team at Ohio University. She is majoring in Psychology and expects to graduate in the spring of 2023. In this interview, Reese and I talk about the opportunities that Division I schools offer and how to keep motivated all year.
1. What is your favorite part about being a Division I athlete?
My favorite part is definitely just having connections with not only the people on my team but also with all of the other athletes. Being integrated into a team your freshman year it’s like you already have a friend group. You don’t need to make friends like other students do, figuring it out yourself. It’s like a community.
2. What was the most challenging part about your recruiting process?
I moved in middle school to a rural and small school, so we didn’t have a high school soccer team. I still played club soccer in Columbus, which was helpful, but a lot of coaches look to recruit people from their high school teams, so because I didn’t have that, it didn’t really give me the ability to be found by coaches. I had to reach out to different teams I was interested in before club soccer tournaments to hope that they would come watch me. It was sheer luck that I got recruited: OU came to watch another girl on my team and they saw me and reached out.
3. What were you looking for in a coach?
It’s kind of hard to know what coaches are like prior to being on a team because they want to recruit people and get good players. I didn’t really know coaches very well. I wanted to find someone that was knowledgeable about the sport and could help me become a better player. I wanted to find coaches that treated me with respect and wanted me to work hard but were also kind to me.
4. Why Ohio University?
When I was looking at schools, I wanted to go to a DII or DIII school. I was looking at smaller, but then when I went to smaller, I realized I don’t want that. So, then I was looking at bigger schools. Both of my sisters graduated from OU. I loved the campus so much and it gave a sense of home because it’s in a college town. And, it had what major I was interested in.
Related school rating: Ohio University
5. Were you hesitant to sign your NIL deal at all?
At first I was a bit hesitant because NIL is so new. I knew the general basis but I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. I wasn’t too nervous because it’s a local business and they are ultimately trying to help student-athletes because we have never been able to have merchandise or make money. I saw it as the perfect change to get my name out there without it being too worrisome or with a bigger organization.
Reese’s NIL deal is with Shop Athens Ohio
6. Do you have any advice for girls looking to play collegiate soccer?
I would definitely tell them how much of a grind it is. They need to make sure that it’s what they want and prepare for it because it is a lot of work. Balancing school and soccer is honestly like a full time job. There is limited free time, so just letting them know what they’re getting into and hoping they have the drive for it. I would also make sure to tell them not to pick a university based on the soccer team, to make sure that they also like the school and could picture themselves at it without soccer.
7. What is one of your biggest motivators?
My biggest motivators are definitely my friends on the team. They truly help me keep going and strive to be the best I can be in and out of my sport. Having these relationships ultimately makes soccer easier because it’s almost like we’re all struggling together. It’s comforting knowing that other people are going through the same thing you are.
8. How do you stay prepared in your off season?
In the spring we still have practices so we stay prepared because we are together. In the summer, they give us a packet to help up with exercises and cardio to stay in shape. I follow that and do other things that I like. Because I am a goalkeeper, I also do training on the side in the summer with a trainer.
Related: Soccer Terms You Need to Know
9. What do you think Division I has given you that you wouldn’t be able to get somewhere else?
Definitely given me a lot of discipline and an immense amount of organizational skills being able to balance out our extremely busy schedules and everyday life. Without soccer I probably wouldn’t be as good of a student as I am just because I have to allow time to do my sport and do schoolwork. It helps me have a routine and a set schedule. Division I has more perks with facilities and study places with resources to help us.
10. What is the funniest thing you’ve experienced while on this team?
Last year one girl on our team’s bike got stolen. She told us to all look out for it and someone found it at Kroger. They took it back to her house. The next night we had the fun idea of stealing her bike again so she thought that someone took it. We took it and were just riding around. She was distrough that someone stole it again. It was hysterical because she thought someone stole it again but it was just us.
Photo Credit: Ohio Bobcats