I remember the first time my club soccer coach spoke seriously to my team about playing in college, and I realized that it was something I wanted to do. As my college search began, I realized that, for me, it was not just about finding anywhere that I could play, it was about finding the right place. I found that place in coming to Union University.
Being a NCAA Division II school, the soccer was competitive and required dedication, but didn’t hinder me from pursing my academic goals. Union’s great science and math programs allowed me to be prepared for pharmacy school, which is my long term academic objective. While playing soccer was always something I enjoyed, what really made my seasons at Union special were the girls that I met there. The long hot practices and eight-hour bus rides were always made easier by the colorful and diverse personalities of the girls on the team. Some girls were the “moms” of the group that always knew how to look out for everyone; others you could count on for a laugh no matter what. Some had a commanding voice on the field, but others knew how to pull you aside and teach you one on one. Certain players knew how to inspire others with their actions, and others always had the perfect words for a pregame speech.
We had different interests, hobbies, qualities, and skills, but we all shared a love for the game of soccer that brought us together. We worked hard at practice, pushing each other to be better. We played hard in games doing our best to win for each other.
Even through the rough times, like losing streaks or strings of injuries, we always came together and pushed through them. The opportunity I had to play soccer at Union changed me and helped me grow more than I ever thought it could. I grew in skill on the field and in qualities of my personal life. I could never thank the coaches and girls enough for the impact they each had on me, and for that, I wouldn’t trade my experience at Union for anything.
-Diana Barajas, #21