Expectation vs. Reality: Emily Mueller

I have lived in Colorado all my life, so moving to a small town in Tennessee to attend and play soccer for Union University was a big jump. Even though I knew Union was the right fit for me when I arrived in August for preseason, I did not really know what to expect.

I did know, however, that I could trust that God was in complete control and had great plans for me.

I was definitely excited to play collegiate soccer since it had been a goal of mine for a long time, but I was also very nervous. I went in expecting it to be similar to the intensity and level of play of club soccer while consisting of the time commitment of high school soccer. I was partially right, but there were some differences.

Collegiate soccer is very demanding and takes up a lot of time. The reality is that you will have to make many sacrifices such as missing social events and getting a solid amount of sleep in order to excel both academically and athletically. We were pushed to do our best and be completely focused every practice. Coach Isaac requires his players to increase their speed of play, be more physical and aggressive, and be fully aware of their surroundings on the soccer field. This past season was personally a very humbling and eye-opening experience because I had the opportunity to play with so many talented soccer players who all pushed me to be better.

As we all challenged each other, it reaffirmed to me that everyone can always improve and that hard work brings results. During the season, there were very few days that we actually had off which was sometimes exhausting and overwhelming when paired with academic demands and requirements. It, however, was completely worth it to me. At the beginning of the season, I was very motivated and excited for the season, so I did not mind the hard work and high intensity. I knew that it would be challenging and it proved to be so. Although the season ended only three months after I arrived on campus, it sometimes seemed to drag on at times due to the physical and mental demands of juggling athletics and academics. To be honest, there were times this past season (preseason fitness testing and early morning conditioning) when I questioned why I was putting myself through something so draining and sometimes even frustrating.

The good times, however, definitely outweighed the hard times. Through my experiences during my first soccer season at Union, I have built friendships with teammates and created memories that will last a lifetime. Those memories include surviving preseason, going on long road trips, and making program history by getting into conference playoffs. I’m very thankful that God led me to Union and its soccer program!

Emily Mueller, #17

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