SEATTLE -- The 2014 Washington women's soccer season is just around the corner, but several of the newest Huskies are already on campus getting a jumpstart on their careers. Incoming freshmen Rachel Wheeler, Dominique Bond-Flasza, Kristie Braken-Guelke, Jenay McAuley and Shaye Villanueva are taking part of the LEAP program offered at UW that allows them to take classes and train with the team during the summer. Each of the five incoming freshmen offered their insight on their transition to UW so far.
GoHuskies.com: Do you feel starting school early is an advantage both in the classroom and meeting your new teammates?
RW: I definitely feel that taking a summer class is an advantage. LEAP has enabled me to become comfortable managing the workload of homework and workouts. LEAP also has provided me the opportunity to become close friends with my teammates and other athletes.
DB-F: Starting school during the summer has allowed me to familiarize myself with college life in general. LEAP has ultimately eased me into the pattern of college living. While at first I struggled with time management, as the weeks progressed I was equipped with strategies to accomplish everything that needed to be completed each day.
KB-G: I think that starting school early is a huge advantage. In the classroom we are able to get a head start on our academic careers by getting general education class credits out of the way while having instructors help us understand what we need to do in order to be successful once the fall quarter starts. There are a lot of tricks for successful college writing that I did not know before, but instructors are teaching us. Meeting our teammates early is also an advantage because it gives us the chance to get to know our teammates and bond as a team.
JM: I definitely believe starting school early is an advantage both in the classroom and in meeting my new teammates. By starting school early, I have been able to learn about the campus and understand college classes earlier than most people. Come fall quarter I will be able to effectively navigate campus as well as my classes unlike many other freshmen. Also it has been very beneficial getting to know my teammates before preseason because it has allowed me to bond with the upperclassmen and the other freshmen, ultimately resulting in team chemistry on the field.
SV: Yes, it is definitely an advantage because not only did we get to experience balancing both school and soccer beforehand, we also got an extra 6 credits. We all also got the opportunity to meet and hang out with the older girls, which has been a very fun experience, especially because the girls are amazing.
GoHuskies.com: How has school been so far? Any favorite class or “freshman moments”?
RW: School has been both busy and fun so far. One moment our class looks forward to everyday is finding out who has won the honorable “Gold Star”. The best part of this process that causes classroom laughter is one of the football player’s loud “ayyyeeeee” that honors the winners.
DB-F: Class has been fun so far. It has been nice meeting all the other freshmen athletes because we all can relate to each other in and out of the classroom setting. The concept of LEAP is sure to be beneficial to all the students enrolled since it transitions us from high school learning to more advanced college level thinking.
KB-G: English has always been one of my favorite and better subjects so school has gone really well. Even though the classes are longer, our instructors do a great job of keeping the class engaged as well as keeping the class productive. I have never had to do so much reading and writing in such a short period of time, but it has been a fairly easy transition into producing college level writing.
JM: So far in summer quarter, school has been good. I believe I now understand how college classes will work and the amount of homework I will be getting in each class. LEAP has also been very beneficial because I have gotten to build relationships with the other freshman athletes.
SV: School has definitely been different than high school. The most difficult part of this course has to be time management. The first day we were asked to write a three page brainstorm and I was baffled because first of all, I never wrote a three page English essay and second, I have never heard of a brainstorm being three pages! Eventually got it done in time. Regarding freshmen moments, we barely had any because everyone was so well behaved in class, which wasn't too fun. Haha.
GoHuskies.com: How has the transition been to college soccer so far? Even if it is just the conditioning or that type of thing.
RW: The transition to college soccer has taken repetitious hard work and discipline. The level of conditioning required for college soccer is a big step up from club soccer, but taking this step each day with my teammates as we encourage and push one another has made the workouts extremely rewarding.
DB-F: The transition from club and high school soccer to college soccer has been tough, specifically the conditioning. The team trains at such a high intensity and does not quit until the end of training. The level and amount of conditioning we have to complete has definitely been grueling on my legs, but as the weeks passed I have grown accustom to the workout regimen, pushing myself to achieve more than the last week.
KB-G: The transition into college soccer has been a great experience. The team and coaching staff are very supportive and helpful on and off the field. We have a big buddy system with the older girls on the team called Dawgs and pups and my Dawgs have been really helpful with the questions I have and with recommending places I should go to. I am really happy to be here and am excited for the upcoming season!
JM: The transition into college soccer has been very difficult. The first week my body was sore from the workouts, but since then, my body has started to become accustomed to the amount of exercise we are getting. The upperclassmen have been very supportive as us freshmen transition from high school soccer to college soccer, ultimately making the transition a little easier.
SV: At the beginning, the transition was very difficult, but as the weeks went on we all definitely got used to waking up early, working out, and going to class. Conditioning hit me like a train though because the intensity was not what I expected, which was good because it was definitely a wakeup call for me. The speed of play is extremely fun because the ball travels quickly from one player to another. I love it so far.
GoHuskies.com: What is the team chemistry like and how do you think that will affect the success of the upcoming season?
RW: The team chemistry has been wonderful so far. From workouts to trainings to hanging out on weekends, the girls have been nothing but welcoming and genuinely friendly to us freshmen. In my opinion, team chemistry is imperative to a successful season, and with each passing day our anticipation progresses to finally donning our purple and gold all together.
DB-F: The team has undeniable chemistry whether it's in on or off the field. They encourage each other to achieve more and to push past the exhaustion we face. In my opinion, having the element of great team camaraderie will definitely benefit us in the upcoming season.
KB-G: I think I already answered part of this in the previous answer but the team has been really supportive in our transition into college and are really helpful with everything we may need. I think the team is a very close knit like a family and are all on the same page with goals for the upcoming season so I think we will be very successful this year.
JM: Walking into our first workout I could immediately see the team chemistry. All the girls on the team are good friends and want to see each other succeed. Over the last three weeks, the upperclassmen have been very encouraging to me as I work to get into the shape needed for college soccer. I believe with the support and camaraderie this team has, we will be very successful in the upcoming season.
SV: The team chemistry is a lot better than my high school team because, I feel like, everyone is on the same page. Everyone on the field has the same goal in mind and will do anything to achieve it. With the intensity we have been having before preseason, I am positive that we will have a very successful upcoming season and I'm very excited.