She'd played for Clarion's women's soccer team for four years while she studied for her bachelor's in psychology and "loved every minute of it. Being able to stay on the soccer field while she worked on her master's and Ph.
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Harrison soon learned, though, that she wasn't ready to coach; she missed playing. Even at practice I just wished I were playing instead of coaching.
NOT JUST FOR KICKS
Despite her limited free time, Harrison set out to find a team willing to take her on as a defender. A small-town girl from Butler, she expected that a city like Pittsburgh would hold countless opportunities for someone in her position. It's clear that--along with a competitive streak a mile long--Harrison has lived with this decisive nature her whole life.
Though each of her six siblings dabbled in soccer when they were young, she was the only one who stuck with it. Harrison continued to play through elementary and middle school. By the time she was 15, she was ready to play on a club team.
Her parents, though supportive of her passion, couldn't commit to driving her to games across the region while working and raising her siblings. Determined to play, Harrison didn't let that stop her. She attended the first practice where she met Jordan Daloiso '12 , who lived in the neighboring town of Kittanning and whose parents offered to take Harrison to games and practices.
Soon after, as Harrison and Daloiso transitioned quickly from new teammates to best friends, Harrison realized for the first time that she wanted to play soccer in college.
After four successful years of high school and club soccer, Harrison settled on Clarion as her new home. She found an immediate connection with the squad's coach at the time, Nina Alonzo, forsaking even California University of Pennsylvania, whose women's soccer program has a recent history of notable success. Along with the school and the soccer program, like so many before her, Harrison says the town of Clarion won her heart almost immediately.
It's so cute and there's a lot going on. I really just fell in love with it the first time I visited.
It didn't take long for Harrison to decide on Clarion, especially when Daloiso revealed that she, too, would be a Golden Eagle. The pair played all four years on the women's soccer team, though Harrison singles out her junior year as her standout season. Her senior year was not quite as successful, as Harrison was riddled with a series of injuries.
Still, Harrison fondly looks back on all of her time on the Clarion pitch.
The Kicker Position: Not Just for Kicks
The final kicker, fourth-year defender Colleen Webber, steps up to the penalty mark, and—in a repeat of the final against Montreal—seals the deal when she finds the back of the net. And nowhere is that more evident than in the lives of the players they influence, both past and present. The amount of time he spends on our program—travelling, recruiting, scouting, and doing game write-ups— makes him different. Each year, the team is given a scripture verse. Roxburgh regularly takes team members on outreach trips to places like Thailand, Myanmar, Zambia, Paraguay, and, last May, Bulembu, Swaziland.
These experiences, he says, outweigh any trophy.
Not just for kicks
In Bulembu, King, Webber, and their teammates spent mornings volunteering at nursery and primary schools and holding soccer clinics in the afternoons. Plus, you get to go halfway around the world with 30 of your best friends. Afterward, the two teams exchanged jerseys and email addresses. King agrees.
And the players are there for each other. A native of Liverpool, England, King had to deal with racism in the city where she grew up. The experience left her somewhat guarded. Over time, the walls she had built came down. We get to grow together on and off the field.
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