by Eve Goulet
I remember when I was four years old, I could not believe I was being forced by my own mother to run around a muddy field with a bunch of grimy children I did not know. I thank God my mother was cruel enough to physically toss me out of the car while I was hysterically crying, lock the doors to our Toyota Sienna minivan (classic soccer-mom car), and drive away. Frankly, that was one of the best things that ever happened to me, because as I grew older I fell in love with the game of soccer. As a shy, pudgy little butterball, soccer was my outlet. I gained confidence each time I walked onto that field, and it became a part of me. I have shed many tears, layers of skin and a lot of pounds these 17 years that soccer has been my life. It becomes so ingrained into who you are that you almost forget that it eventually does end. And it did…or so everyone thought.
I entered senior year with one CAA championship, and was prepared to go for a second. Although this is true, in the back of my mind, I knew there was at least a possibility that I could just maybe play throughout my fifth year at school, but I tried to not think about it. I never mentioned this thought to anyone besides my parents during my “senior” season.
I wanted to be present. I wanted to focus on this year, without the assumption I would play one more. I wanted to proceed through the season with the pressure that this is our final chance. I did not want to think, “maybe next year.” With that being said, I was a true senior at the time and felt the emotions that any college athlete whose career is coming to a close would feel in their final wins and losses.
I like to think my time here with Northeastern began as a sophomore in high school when I verbally committed. Shortly after, in my junior year of high school, I was in Pennsylvania playing with my club team, The Stars of Massachusetts (#starsnation forever), and went into a slide tackle that I knew felt wrong from the first initial step into it. Not to my surprise, I broke my fibula and tore almost every ligament in my inner ankle. One nine-hour ride back to Massachusetts, a few years, one CAA championship ring, and five surgeries later, I was already in my senior year of college. Very shortly after playing what I thought would be my last game, I approached my coach with this idea of trying to get back my freshman year, which was lost due to the countless surgeries that prohibited my ankle from being anything besides a pirate’s wooden peg-leg. I was nervous, actually scared, that this daydreamed idea I had would burst and my hopes at another chance to play again would be lost. Thankfully, [head coach] Ashley [Phillips] was fully on board with the notion and did not realize it would have even been possible for me eligibility-wise. Quickly (although it felt slower than me running a fitness test) she, the rest of our coaching staff, compliance, athletic trainers and advisors all helped me officially obtain my 5th year of eligibility from the NCAA.
The opportunity to play soccer and live with my best friends at Northeastern is something I will forever be grateful for. I have learned many life lessons I would have never otherwise experienced if I were not part of this program. As I developed as a player, my personal growth paralleled that. I have discovered an unwavering faith in myself and what I believe in. Having a resilient attitude and work ethic fosters success. I have learned how rewarding being part of something so much bigger than myself is. These memories of my teammates and I sacrificing anything for the betterment of the team flood my mind when I think about soccer. I can understand how it feels to be playing what I thought was my last game ever. I can understand almost losing an intangible thing that you love, and cannot remember living without. While I can feel these emotions because I came so close to the end of my journey, I am blessed to have a second chance at my senior year. Not many people get a second last chance.
The girls in my class that started this journey must continue on with their lives, but I have the opportunity to stay where my heart is, on the soccer field. These girls, my best friends, have taught me that this journey means nothing without the unbreakable bonds all us teammates share. For that, I want to play for them. I will play passionately to help accomplish a goal our 2018 roster could not, but that the 2019 roster can. I have always said that one of the biggest reasons I play soccer is because I feel that there is nothing else in this world that grants me the ability to experience emotions so deeply indescribable as soccer does. This personal thirst to feel this fulfillment is quenched through winning. I want that second CAA ring. And I am ready to strive for this wholeheartedly for one last round.