By: Jessica Whalen [email protected]
Not everyone meets his or her soul mate at school. For two UVU athletes, Haley Curtis and Braden Poole, that luck was all theirs as they found each other in a UVU classroom and made a connection.
Curtis came to UVU a graduate from West Valley High School from Yakima, Washington. She is a senior at UVU studying Biology and will graduate in the Spring of 2014. After UVU she plans to attend medical school to specialize in genetics.
Curtis decided to come to UVU to play soccer. Although there were various offers to play soccer closer to home, she turned them all down. Curtis wanted to experience the Utah environment, meet new friends and find individuals who have the same values as hers.
“In coming to Utah I just expected a fun environment with nice people and that’s exactly what you get,” said Curtis “So, it’s been good.”
Curtis has been playing soccer for 15 years, but soccer was always her backup sport when growing up. She originally was very dedicated to basketball. Soccer was her off season sport until basketball started, and her plan was to play basketball in college.
In Curtis’ senior year of high school her soccer coach encouraged her to try-out for a more prestigious club team in Seattle, Wash. She played there for Eastside FC for six months. From there, she began to make a name for herself in the sport.
Curtis’ coach’s encouragement changed her mind from playing basketball collegiality to playing soccer collegiality.
“My high school soccer coach was the one who convinced me to play soccer, but ultimately it was what I wanted in the end too,” said Curtis.
Curtis’s soccer team made it to state in her senior year of high school, and Coach Anderson came to watch her play. After the game Coach Anderson approached her and offered her a scholarship to play for the Wolverines at UVU.
Curtis is one of the outstanding student athletes at UVU. She leads the soccer team in goals and was recently named one of the Perry Homes scholar athletes of the month.
“My soccer experience while at UVU has been beyond what I expected,” Curtis said.
“The team really became my family and you put blood, sweat, tears in for these girls and the success of this team. I have never put so much dedication and passion into something in my entire life. Playing soccer for UVU has shaped me in ways I can’t even describe. UVU soccer has become a part of me and who I am for now for life.”
Braden Poole came to UVU in 2010 to play baseball as a graduate from Rigby High School in Menan, Idaho. He will be a junior in the 2013-14 season studying Biology. Poole played one year before his LDS Mission to Montreal, Canada. He returned and played last season as well.
In high school, Poole led his baseball team to two different district championships two years in a row. Last season at UVU, Poole made 17 appearances, with one start, and finished 1-3 with a 4.23 ERA and one save. He struck out 25 in 27.1 innings on the season
And then their paths crossed. Curtis and Poole met in Biology class on Jan. 2, 2013 and went on a date two days later. The two star athletes shared a fun first date playing basketball.
During Curtis’ first encounter with Poole she thought that she had finally found a cute non-married boy in class, until she found out he was an athlete.
“He told me he was on the baseball team,” remembered Curtis. “And I thought oh boy another player, staying away from this one.”
Although it may not have been love at first sight, the couple was able to bypass their thoughts and get to know each other a little better. Since their first date, the couple has been inseparable.
Then came the big proposal day. Poole and Curtis spent their Labor Day at Hogle Zoo, where Curtis got the thrill of her life. Poole found quite the creative way to pop the question to Curtis. He then proceeded to get down on one knee and asked if she would marry him. Curtis had never been to the zoo before in her life and not only did she get surprised to go to the zoo, she was able to get engaged there as well.
“I was surprised sort of,” Curtis said replaying the proposal in her mind. “I knew he would be asking soon, because he did summer sales all summer, so I knew it would be pretty close to when he got back, and we had gone ring shopping, but I didn’t know how or where I guess.”
The couple will be getting married in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple after the soccer season, but is keeping the date as a surprise to everyone. The couple will reside in Utah until Poole graduates, and then they will both be applying to graduate school.