By Angela Quadrini, Staff Writer
In 2014, soccer player Emily Center had a great rookie season starting all 18 matches as well as earning a spot on the MAAC All-Rookie Team. Last year, Center continued to come up big for the Jaspers, helping the team register 11 shutouts, while playing in all 19 matches.
Center also played on a defense that allowed a MAAC low of 14 goals on the year. With her junior season upon her, Center is focused on contributing to her team as much as possible.
The Quadrangle: How did you first get into soccer?
Emily Center: My dad played on the football team for the University of Albany and my mom played basketball for SUNY Geneseo, so they both were athletic but never played soccer. I wanted to start my own thing, so I picked soccer and fell in love with it.
TQ: Did you play in high school?
EC: I played all throughout high school as well as on a club team.
TQ: How different is Division 1 college soccer from playing on your high school’s team?
EC: The time commitment is obviously huge both on and off the field. We’re not just at practice everyday, but also in the training room and the weight room, along with film sessions. The biggest change is taking time off the field to get better. The level of expectation is also very different. All of my teammates and I hold each other to a high expectation level and count on me just as much as I count on them.
TQ: Do you find it hard balancing schoolwork as well as being a student athlete?
EC: I find that Manhattan College is very supportive with that type of thing. Our coach also understands that our academics come first. It does get tough when we’re in season and having up to two games a week. After games, I sometimes have to come back and spend all night in the library, so those nights are tough, but it forces me to manage my time better and be more efficient.
TQ: Does stress with your schoolwork ever make you want to quit playing soccer?
EC: Not at all, I’ve never even thought of that option. I love being busy and always having things to do. It can get overwhelming at times, but it’s never made me want to stop playing.
TQ: After a heartbreaking loss in last years championship game, what mindset did you have coming into this season?
EC: We’re coming back looking for redemption this year. As a team, we’re trying to raise our expectations and prove ourselves by getting back up to the top. Being in the tournament last year, we got a taste of what it feels like to play at that high level and be there, so its driving us even more to get there again.
TQ: At the beginning of the season, did you set a personal goal for yourself?
EC: My personal goal is essentially to do everything I can to achieve our team goal. I put as much out there as I can to win us that MAAC Championship. Whatever that role might be, that’s what I’m playing for, to fit it as best I can for my team.
TQ: What’s the team goal?
EC: Definitely to win a MAAC Championship. We want to show we can compete with any team in the conference. We go into every game just thinking about that game and try not to think too far ahead, but we’re also playing each game to prove we are capable of winning a championship.