As the new soccer season approaches, seniors will have a tough decision to make. Due to the changes to the upcoming season, athletes on the soccer team, as well as other sports, will be given an extra year of eligibility. From freshmen to juniors, the decision may not be as difficult to want to play an extra year. However, for the seniors, it’s a very difficult one as they had planned on this being their last season and graduation is right around the corner. During these unprecedented times, this decision is one that many haven’t really seen before. Generally, those that have had an extra year are players who have medically redshirted and often have these kinds of decisions weighing on their shoulders.
Senior Kate Arthur from Springfield, Missouri is ready for the challenges of the upcoming season. Arthur is set to graduate in the spring with a general engineering degree and a human biology minor. As most seniors are ready to enjoy their last final year, they are also ready to finish school to start their next journey in life. After everything that has happened during this year, everyone has had to learn to adapt. However, the soccer team is still preparing for the upcoming season even though this fall looks a lot different. Instead of looking forward to playing for a conference title, Arthur and the soccer team are focusing on getting to strengthen their talents. Since there are no games being played, there is more time to focus on becoming better players, while also forming a bond with the newcomers.
The soccer team practices three times a week this fall. This leaves more time for them to grow together on and off the field. Soccer-wise, everything has changed with how many practices per week and how practices are run. Arthur says, “It gives our team a lot of opportunities to learn formation and really vibe with each other before having to play actual games against real competition.” She is really looking forward to the spring, even with plans being up in the air and always likely to change. Being a senior comes with a lot of expectations, especially finishing the last season with a SLIAC title coming back to Greenville. Seniors are dealing with a different situation this season with COVID forcing the season to the spring, and the NCAA is giving the seniors an option to play an extra season. This opens the door for many options, especially for Arthur. Arthur has been preparing applications for biomedical engineering Master’s programs all over the country with a chance to gain new experiences. The extra year of eligibility, however, has opened even more doors of opportunity. She is pondering these opportunities at Greenville or possibly elsewhere to use the extra year of eligibility.
While things have changed for the soccer team, the seniors are ready to play for a conference title in the spring. With the season on the horizon, these seniors will have a difficult decision on whether to use the extra year of eligibility or to start the next chapter of their lives.
Media by José Soutullo Fernández.