As I wrote last week, my teammates and I supervised a camp for over 200 junior soccer players, and next week, we will start a camp of our own. Friday officially marked the end of our summer training. We have run and lifted a tremendous amount the past 6 weeks that we've been at Clemson, as well as during the 6 weeks prior to that while we were all at home enjoying the first part of summer. In addition to summer training ending, today was also the last day of summer classes. It is surreal how fast the time has gone, and although training for next season started the day after our last game in the fall, Wednesday is the official starting day of the new season.
This summer training has been the hardest it has ever been for me in my 3 years as a student-athlete here at Clemson. I took 3 summer classes, had this internship with the Victory Press, and had to maintain keeping up with playing soccer, running, and lifting. It was not an easy task. The demand is high, but my teammates and I all understand that it is for a great cause. We went 14-4-2 last season and are looking to do even better things, both on the soccer field and in the classroom this upcoming fall. I am extremely proud of all of the hard work we have put in the last 12 weeks, and these next 4 days off are much deserved.
90% of my teammates all went home today, after finals this morning for those enrolled in summer classes. These next few days will be spent relaxing, staying off of our feet, and enjoying the free time before things get really busy. For Clemson, football will kick off their preseason on Tuesday, my team (women’s soccer) begins Wednesday, volleyball starts on Friday, and men's soccer begins the following week.
It feels as if soccer season ended recently, but it's actually been 9 months since our last game. All of the student athletes for fall sports are eager to get the season going again. Preseason will be filled with meetings, fitness tests, 2 hour-long soccer practices per day...and limited down time. Luckily for me, this is my 4th preseason with this team, so I know how it all works. There will be some fun to it, too. We will go on a team retreat (I'm not sure where yet), socialize, and eventually we'll play together on the soccer field again at last. These are pretty much the things we already do, but having a real, competitive soccer game right around the corner makes everything that much more enjoyable.
This summer has been filled with great memories that I will cherish forever. Spending quality time with my teammates and other athlete friends has been worthwhile, and it is bittersweet that my last summer in Clemson as a student athlete is just about over. I'm extremely excited to see what my team and all of our other fall sports teams will do this season. This is going to be a big year for Clemson Athletics and I can’t wait to be a part of it.
I'll update you next week to inform everyone how our pre-season is going. Wish us well.
— Catrina Atanda
Editor's note: Catrina is a student athlete at Clemson University who is receiving college credit for her columns this summer. Check out the "summer diaries" tag for her posts. — Zoë Hayden
(Photo credit: I. A. Walsh/Flickr)