By Carolyn Linck, '11
Meleana Shim (MS), a sophomore midfielder from Honolulu, Hawaii, is already a key member of the Santa Clara University women's soccer team. An underclassman contributor, Shim has high personal and team goals for the 2010-11 season. Recently www.SantaClaraBroncos.com caught up with Shim about her experience playing for SCU so far, her adjustment to life at Santa Clara and what growing up in Hawaii was like.
SCB: You had a great season last year as a freshman. What are you hoping to accomplish in your sophomore year on a team and individual level?
MS: Our team is focusing on the conference championship at this stage in the game. I'm sure that our goals are similar to all of the other top-25 teams in the country. We want to win our conference, get a top seed in the tournament and ultimately, we want to get to the Final Four and win the national championship. Individually, I want to get better every time I step out on the field so that I can contribute to this team as best as I can.
SCB: What do you like most about playing soccer at SCU? Do you have a favorite memory in your time playing here so far?
MS: It's not often that you'll find a group of 30 girls who actually like each other. Because I am a part of this team, I have 29 great friends on whom I can count every single day. We win and we lose together, we laugh and we cry together. Soccer is very important and so is our record, but I can tell you one thing; in 25 years, I am certain that I will remember the way that each one of these girls has impacted me. On that note, I would have to say that my fondest memory goes back to our preseason team-bonding trip in Arnold. Ask any of my teammates, they will tell you how cool it was.
SCB: What aspect of your game do you feel needs the most work? How are you working to improve this?
MS: I've never been much of a defender. I've been playing defensive mid for most of the season--hopefully I'll continue to improve.
SCB: What do you feel is the strongest aspect of your game? Why?
MS: I think if you asked my teammates and coaches, they would all give you the same answer. My technical skills and "cheekiness" are definitely the strongest aspects of my game.
SCB: How did you adjust to life at SCU last year? Do you miss Hawaii?
MS: I like the cool weather, and that there is always something to do here at Santa Clara. Life at SCU is really fun. I miss the beach, the warm weather and my family.
SCB: How long have you been playing soccer? Did you do any other sports growing up?
MS: I've been playing soccer since I was 4. I played soccer and surfed until I was 13. The two sports were completely different which was nice because it made me feel really balanced. As I got older and the going got tough, I knew that I had to choose either soccer or surfing. My dad told me that I was better at soccer so I trusted the old man and went with it. I now realize that he was just afraid that I would steal his thunder in the water so he encouraged me to stay on land.
SCB: Is soccer popular in Hawaii? How often did you have to travel to play in tournaments when you were growing up? Was it difficult to get exposure and competition because you were so far away?
MS: Soccer is becoming more and more popular in Hawaii, especially as Hawaiian athletes continue to receive scholarships. Mainland colleges are obviously more expensive for Hawaiian kids because of the additional travel expense, so parents are looking for ways to help with the tuition. When I was younger there were only two teams in our age group at the club level, but I think the number of teams will continue to grow. Our club team traveled every summer and we usually stayed in the mainland two months to avoid having to pay for flights back and forth. When it came time for college recruiting, I decided I needed to leave the island to get exposure, so I moved to California for the summer, and then to Arizona for my junior year. I was home-schooled and played with my current teammates Zoë, Sarah and Julie. That's how I became a Bronco.