The John Brown University Athletic Department was abuzz with the excitement of National Signing Day for the 2015 women’s soccer team. JBU Athletics announced on Wednesday, Feb. 4 each new addition for the 2015-2016 season over social media platforms. Nine excited faces appeared at the end of the day, displaying one of the largest classes that the program has ever recruited.
JBU released a short biography of each player and later posted a collage of all the new recruits. For many of these players, the recruiting process has been a long journey that started as early as the beginning of their high school careers.
“There is a lot that goes into the recruiting process, especially when it comes to the world of college women’s soccer” said JBU Women’s Soccer Coach, Kathleen Paulsen. “It happens at a pretty early age for a lot of them, so for some of these girls, I’ve been in contact with them since their sophomore year of high school.
JBU holds a high standard when it comes to recruitment. JBU Athletic Director, Robyn Daugherty, noted that the coaches looked for individuals who could succeed on and off the field, which ultimately sets JBU apart from other institutions in the NAIA.
“We all strongly believe in recruiting individuals who will graduate from JBU and make a difference in our world once they are finished,” said Daugherty.
Coach Paulsen also recognized that adding such a large class would also require some readjusting. However, she noted that with the leadership skills displayed by the current members and the path that has been laid before the team, they would have a smooth transition into this next season.
“This is a huge class for us this coming year and we will be a young team. But I also think we have a strong understanding of who we are as a program and what direction we want to head,” said Paulsen. “I’m confident that our foundation is firm as we move forward. Our current players are leaders and will do a great job integrating the new class into our program.”
Senior JBU Women’s Soccer player, Madi Susmilch, can account for the closeness of team. In the process of graduating from JBU and having new members come into the program, she hopes that the team members will still carry on some of their traditions and sacred moments they have held in the past.
“One of the traditions is the music we listen to before games… I hope that ‘Say My Name’ and ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ will continue to be played and danced to,” said Susmilch. “Pregame worship was also a big part of our success–just giving our anxiety over to God before we went out and played for Him.”
Though the process of recruiting and signing players can be stressful, Paulsen noted that the true reward of her job comes after the recruiting process when she watches the new players establish who they are on and off the field.
“I think my favorite part of coaching is watching these young women change and grow both in their sport and in their lives. I look forward to getting to watch that process,” said Paulsen.