By Student Assistant Sara Vierra '15
Bronco rising sophomore, Katie Speidel (KS), had an amazing fall season on the field as a first- year Bronco student-athlete with the women's soccer team. Her hard work and determination led only to an even more impressive spring season with Broncos.
Speidel has played soccer nearly her entire life, and is thrilled to be given the opportunity to continue her athletic career with the Broncos. Speidel sat down with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCU) and discussed her position change from fall to spring season, and shared how she feels it was only a result of her improvement and growth as a player, physically and mentally. Whether it be from the wide-mid position or center forward, Speidel enjoys the attacking aspect of her offensive positions and will continue to increase her drive to goal.
SCU: At what age did you begin to play soccer?
KS: I began playing soccer at age five for a Southern California AYSO team. I played for a couple years before beginning club soccer at age seven.
SCU: What was your initial position? What position have you loved most throughout your athletic career?
KS: At that age, you sort of run around aimlessly, but I do know I played forward and goalie as a young player. As I've grown, I have primarily played wide midfield, central midfield and forward. I enjoy the wide midfield and forward the most because they are more attacking positions, which is super fun for me.
SCU: What led to the position change, from mid to forward, during the spring season at SCU?
KS: I guess I became more confident going to goal at the end of the fall season and in spring training, so the coaching staff decided to put me up front for a few games and it worked out. The two positions are different rolls on the field, but very similar mindsets in that the goal is to advance up the field and ultimately, of course, score. I must admit, wide midfield is a LOT of running up and down the field with less time on the ball compared to the forward position, so forward has been a fun change. I really enjoyed interchanging between the two attacking positions this spring season.
SCU: Was that a difficult transition?
KS: As I previously mentioned, the two positions are different with respect to running patterns and attacking/defending rolls. They are, however, similar in that they are the more attacking rolls on the field, so the transition wasn't too difficult. I was also familiar with the forward position because I have played there for my club team and the National Team program.
SCU: Although you have been playing highly competitive soccer for some time now, how different is collegiate soccer from that of club or high school?
KS: The level of soccer is drastically different because of the age difference, in my opinion. These girls are experienced and physically stronger, faster, and more technically sound than you are when you first come in as a freshman. And honestly, that is very intimidating at first. Having been with the team for a year now, it is incredible to look back and see my improvement physically, as well as mentally. It has become so much fun to compete against the bigger and faster girls because I know with training from our coaching staff and weight trainers, I will soon be at that level and that is exciting to think about.
SCU: Was there once a different sport that you visioned yourself playing at the collegiate level?
KS: As a competitive young kid, I enjoyed playing any sport you could think of and did anything I could to be the best at it. I took an incredible amount of pride in beating the guys in football during recess ☺. I did have to choose between soccer, basketball, and softball when I was old enough to play at the "club" level because it was too much to completely dedicate myself to more than one sport. Obviously, I chose soccer and I would do it over a million times if I got the opportunity. It has been my life for as long as I can remember and I don't regret a single day.
SCU: What are your plans after college? Do you plan on pursuing soccer?
KS: To be completely honest, I have no idea what life after college will be like for me. Unfortunately, I had a few knee problems that I have to keep under control at this age if I ever plan on playing after college is finished. It has been my life-long dream to play professionally or continue with the National Team program and if my body allows me, I will work as hard as I can to get to that level.
SCU: What is the one thing that you love doing most when you have a break from both academics and athletics?
KS: My family and friends are the most important things to me, so it doesn't really matter what I am doing as long as I am spending the time with them. My family loves to travel and be outdoors and having been raised 10 minutes from Southern California beaches, I've found that the beach is a sort of escape for me. I also really enjoy studying and doing all types of art as another form of stress release.