Being a freshman is a difficult task in its own right for anyone. Throw in leaving home in mid-August, practicing for several hours a day, attending school earlier than most and juggling academic and athletic success—a student-athlete has one of the more strenuous jobs out there. The freshmen on the women’s soccer team, however, are proving that they are not going to back down. They are up to the task of taking on all of the obstacles that face college athletes. A roster of 28 women—consisting of eight freshmen—has the team set up for success. The first big step for any high school athlete is deciding which college to attend.
“Geneseo is a place that combines great academics, great women's soccer and great people,” head coach Nate Wiley said. “I cannot think of a better place to be a student-athlete ... especially now with this new stadium.”
If that isn’t enough to persuade recruits to attend Geneseo, then perhaps Wiley’s resume could help. Wiley is coming off a season where he won the 2014 SUNYAC Women's Soccer Coach of the Year award; guiding the Knights to a 16-3-3 record—the team's best mark since 1993.
“Wiley was so clear about finding not only a good soccer player, but a good person too, to fit into our team dynamic,” freshman Rachel Walsh said. “He was so nice and made me feel comfortable to come into this program.”
Having a great coach is only one piece to the puzzle when deciding where to attend school. Freshman Ashley Byrne noted that it was the “the academics and the sport atmosphere” that convinced her to come to Geneseo.
“I knew it was the perfect decision because I was looking to play soccer in college at the Division III level and I saw this opportunity and took it,” she said.
Although transitioning to college can be difficult, Wiley thinks this group is moving in smoothly.
“I think our freshmen have been transitioning quite nicely,” he said. “Acclimating freshmen into your program can sometimes prove to be a difficult process, but with the depth of experience that we have, it allows that transition to progress at a more comfortable pace.”
Senior Samantha Sherman also had high praise for the young talent.
“We really have a great group [of freshman],” she said. “They are amazing and fit right into our team.”
With such a great freshman class, this season is already off to a positive start for Wiley’s team. If their early success continues this year and in the distant future, Geneseo should see a few more SUNYAC championships and, perhaps, some NCAA Tournament banners hanging in the new stadium.