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When one spends a Saturday afternoon watching college football, he or she might believe that being a college athlete is full of glitz and glamour.
Don’t be fooled.
Most of the athletes who play a sport on the college level never fly on an airplane, stay in a five-star hotel or play in front of millions of people on television.
That does not mean, however, they enjoy their experience any less.
Many young people from the area head off to college each fall to not only further their education but to also play college athletics. One such person is Kelsey Williams – a 2008 graduate of Owen County High School who enjoyed a successful career of playing both soccer and basketball for the Lady Rebels.
For Williams, it was not a matter of if she would play sports at the next level, it was a question of where she would do it.
She was recruited to play basketball by several schools. One of those interested in her was Thomas More College in Edgewood.
While on a recruiting visit to meet with the Lady Saints’ coaches, Williams said the soccer coaches also showed interest in her coming to the school to play goalie.
She accepted and headed to Thomas More to begin her freshman season.
Once school and practice began, Williams, like other athletes who make the transition from high school to college, found out that it was not going to be easy.
“On the first day of practice I realized this was not high school. The level of play is so much different.”
She also realized she was not going to be the only goalie on the roster, which meant competition for playing time was going to be fierce.
When another goalie won the starting job, Williams said it was tough to not be on the field.
“I went from starting all four years to sitting on the bench,” Williams said. “I was upset for a while but I got used to it.”
Not only was life different on the field, there was also an adjustment off.
Williams rooms with other soccer players and everyone has become good friends.
During her first semester, Williams learned the importance of studying.
“I learned the hard way that you have to study more than the night before,” Williams said.
For most of the season, she was not on the traveling team. As the year went on, she did get to make a few trips.
Williams recalled one trip that included a seven-hour bus ride to Pennsylvania in the middle of the night. She said the bus included members of both the men’s and women’s teams. She said they were all sharing pizza, watching a movie she did not like, and sharing in restless leg syndrome. While others were complaining, Williams said, “I was so excited.”
Now that the soccer season is over, Williams is taking a couple of weeks off before beginning basketball practice. She will join a team that is ranked seventh in the country in a Division III preseason poll.
Williams said she is looking forward to basketball and being part of a team that has enjoyed recent success.
She does admit to missing high school.
“I miss feeling like I know what I am doing,” Williams said.