Only the strong shall survive. Adaptation. These are just two traits Utah Valley redshirt sophomore Natalie Young has utilized in order to advance her collegiate athletic career and put her in a position of leadership on this year’s Wolverines soccer team.
Growing up, Young found herself amid a slew of 10 children. She fell in at position number eight, scrunched in between two sisters and a brother. Many of her eight sisters were gifted athletes and, ironically, her brother had no interest in sports. It made for a unique family makeup that only helped Young as she entered the world of female college athletics.
“Growing up with eight sisters really helped me to get ready for this,” Young said. “It made for an easy transition into everything that goes into being close with a big group of girls.”
Early on at Springville High, Young played basketball to go along with her mainstays of track and soccer. She also flirted with music and the flute. A broken ankle from basketball gave her the perspective she needed to focus on her true loves: soccer and track.
For Young, the two sports became inseparable and stood strong even as tempting offers started pouring in from prestigious schools such as Duke, Brown and Princeton. What stood in the way? They recruited her specifically solely for track.
When the offer from the University of Utah came along and offered both, she jumped at the chance. Young, however, immediately felt she did not fit in and, because of philosophies at the top of the program, felt things would not work out.
After talking with friends that played at UVU, Young chose to come closer to home and find a better atmosphere.
“I was immediately welcomed in,” Young said. “I couldn’t believe the camaraderie and how well the team gelled immediately.”
Young shares an apartment with forward Haley Curtis, keeper Jedeshia Colebrook and defender Nicole Slater. Young found twitterpation in the brother of Haley Curtis.
“I assist her goals and I get to date her brother,” Young laughed. “That’s our arrangement.” Another connection they share is that all but one teammate is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of was irrelevant, getting orange slices and Capri Suns at halftime and going out for pizza afterwards, win or lose. And sometimes ice cream too.
This soccer season I have had the chance to expand my horizons and cover soccer nearly exclusively. I have to admit that at first it did feel like watching people running around until the ball found it’s way near the goal and, in a rare case, seeing it actually make it to the back of the net.
As I stripped away my biases I had accumulated and gave soccer a fair shot, I was blown away by the intricacy and strategy that goes into scoring a goal, playing defense and defending the net as a keeper.
These athletes have to be in such superb physical condition that it allows them to pursue other athletic ventures with ease. The training alone demands respect from fans of all sports.
UVU forward Natalie Young plays collegiately in both track and soccer but says the training doesn’t cut both ways.
“It’s way easier to move into track season from soccer,” Young said. “After soccer season you are in such good shape because you are always running and moving. Track is more short distance training so it takes a little bit more to get back in shape for soccer.”
While some may or may not enjoy the sport to begin with, given time and an open mind soccer can grow on the hardest of hardcore, armchair quarterbacks . After playing many different sports throughout my life, I can honesty say that I have given the least amount of time and attention to soccer.
My beef with Fox is that they should proudly air premier league soccer and not have to dress it up as “football” Sunday continued. Soccer is not mutton dressed up as lamb. For many, it’s a perfectly seasoned rib-eye hot of the grill.
The key for soccer’s success in this country is education and exposure. Fox helped neither by implying soccer is a football substitute. Soccer won’t take the American Sporting world by storm overnight, but in the famous words of Dr. Leo Marvin: “All it takes is baby steps.”