A Tale of Two Soccer Players
Some call it soccer, others call it futbol. Regardless of how you refer to it, it’s no secret that this sport forms a connection with people all over the world. Millions of kids across the globe have dreams of playing soccer as a future career. For a few, that dream comes true, but for most, that dream is not meant to be. However, with new opportunities in the world today, those kids with those dreams can still play throughout their time as young adults. For Samantha Robertson, President of Virginia Tech’s Women’s Club Soccer (VTWC), and Brady O’Donnell, a player for Virginia Tech’s intramural, their soccer times were extended for at least four more years, a testament to their unwavering dedication and perseverance. 
Starting her collegiate soccer journey at Christopher Newport University—then transferring to Virginia Tech—Robertson, a senior studying Human Development, credits the sport of soccer herself as one of her biggest motivations for her desire to play. “Soccer is one of the driving passions of my life,” she said in an interview, also adding, “it’s a beautiful sport that energizes me and ultimately gives me the adrenaline to conquer anything in my day.” 
O’Donnell, a sophomore studying Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, began his collegiate soccer journey playing for a Virginia Tech intramural team. Similarly to Robertson, he said, “the amount of joy and excitement I get from playing, whether it's competitive or casual, is why I still play at school. There is nothing that soothes my stress more than playing soccer on the weekends with my friends.”
Robertson and O’Donnell both began playing soccer at a young age—with Robertson starting at the age of five. For Robertson, nothing has stopped her from quitting—not even pursuing a degree. Robertson credits soccer as “the reason [she’s] been able to be successful in the classroom,” saying that “the sport teaches people valuable life lessons such as dedication, resiliency, responsibility, how to balance your schedule, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, collaborating with others from diverse backgrounds, etc.” This profound impact of soccer on her personal and academic development is a testament to the power of the sport.
For O’Donnell, the bond that tied him and his father together was something that motivated him to continue, adding, “my dad would sit me on his lap, and we would watch Premier League games every weekend … once I could walk, my parents made sure to get me into the youth system as fast as possible … my interest only skyrocketed from there.
The two both credit their families as big career supporters, with Robertson saying, “they’ve fully supported my development as a player. They’ve come to every game I’ve played … they’ve paid for me to be in every league I’ve pursued, expensive travel for college showcases, college ID camps and visits, you name it!” While O’Donnell said, “there have been many people that I can attribute my success to in the sport, with the most important being my dad. He can take all the credit for getting me into the sport in the first place.” This strong support system is a crucial part of their soccer journeys, highlighting the importance of family in pursuing one's passion. 
Love it or hate it, soccer has a tight connection to millions of people around the globe. For Samantha Robertson, she is set to graduate on Saturday, May 11, 2024, with her degree in Human Development. In contrast, Brady O’Donnell, although set to graduate in two years from then, still plans on playing soccer at Virginia Tech in any way he can.

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