1-on-1 with Aurelia Solomon '13
This week I sat down with women's soccer co-captain Aurelia Solomon '13 to discuss the beginning of the season and her plans for the future.
The team took a trip down to Florida right after Hurricane Isaac, losing to No. 9 University of Central Florida and beating University of Southern Florida. What were your thoughts on the trip?
AS: I thought the Florida trip was a really positive experience. We lost our first game to UCF, 2-0, but the score didn't really reflect how close the game was. We played extremely well, but because it was our first game and their fifth game, I think they just had a little more experience. Our confidence from that game gave us momentum to be able to beat USF, 2-1. In the second game, it was 95 degrees and humid, but we were able to make it through and win, due to some great play from players off the bench. Our team has a lot of depth right now, and I think that has made the difference. Anyone can come off the bench and make a huge impact. It was great to go 1-1 on the trip and get some momentum at the beginning of the season.
How has the change in academic schedule affected the team?
AS: The new schedule is kind of a bummer because we love preseason and having soccer for a month with no other distractions. Overall, I think it's fine because now when you get to the NCAA tournament, it doesn't conflict with finals, as the men's team has experienced before. Hopefully we will make the tournament and will benefit from the schedule change then.
As a senior captain, what's your outlook for the season?
AS: I really think we're going to win Ivies this year. I know we say it every year, but this year we really have depth that we haven't had in the past. We can rely on the whole team, not just 12 to 13 players. I also think we have a different mentality as a program. We did a physical training session with a Marine a couple weeks ago that really helped us build team unity and struggle through adversity together. I think that made us stronger mentally, and it's shown in our play thus far this season.
An injury took you out of the game for part of last season. How tough is it watching from the sidelines?
AS: It was extremely tough being injured last year. I tried to fight it and not get surgery, but I ended up having to. I think last year was sort of a building year, as we had a lot of injuries, a new coach and only two returning starters. I think we've built our program a lot over the last year and should be healthy and ready to go this season.
The team welcomed seven new freshmen. How are they contributing thus far?
AS: The freshmen are great both on and off the field. They've gotten a lot of playing time and four are starting. One got two assists in last Friday's game and the forwards especially have been great at creating a lot of scoring opportunities. They're playing very well and are a good social fit with the team. They have the added benefit of being extremely close as a class, which is something we strive for.
How do you think being in Hanover this summer benefitted your training?
AS: I thought being in Hanover was great because I had access to the facilities here. I worked 9 to 5, so I would generally work out before work. It was tough working out alone since the '14s were on a different schedule, but I had my conditioning coaches who were supportive. It was great hanging out with the '14s and seeing them take a leadership role in the program planning their own workouts, welcoming the freshman, etc.
The U.S. Women's Soccer team has historically been an international powerhouse, while men's team has struggled. Why do you think that is?
AS: Women's sports in general are not as big in Europe or South America as it is in the U.S. My dad worked in Rome when I was younger, and when my sister and I played soccer in the park, boys would find it strange. It's amazing how the U.S . women's team is doing so well, winning the Olympic gold and making the front page of the New York Times after the Olympics. The American women's pro league has been struggling due to financial issues, but hopefully the Olympics should reinvigorate it.
You've been an All-Ivy selection the past two years. Do you have any plans to play soccer post college?
AS: I'm keeping all my options open. I plan on applying to jobs, but also trying to see if there's anywhere I can play. I can't really imagine being done with soccer, but I'm also excited about other things in my life. I'll have to see all the options on the table and make a decision at that point.