Beginning college is on many a senior’s agenda, which is exciting, but nonetheless it is a very nerve-racking ordeal. Being away from home, doing one’s own chores often involves factors that add to the stress. Imagine if being on a sports team was a part of this list, a Division 1 soccer team, no less.
Natalie Oliver ’19 received a full athlete ride for soccer to American University, where she will be attending next school year. Out of all schools who gave her scholarship offers for playing soccer, it came down to two—University of Florida and American University. After visiting the campus, and considering her desire to be out of state, she decided American was the best option for her.
“I fell in love with the school and team, and I knew that I could accomplish my dreams and grow as a person there,” Oliver said.
Starting in middle school, Oliver knew what she wanted, and that was to play college soccer. The game and the opportunity to meet the good-hearted people, all the while doing what she loves, helped her know early what she wanted. Her dad played college soccer as well, only facilitating this goal even more.
To be at a high skill and ability level to play college soccer, let alone Division 1, takes a lot of dedication, determination and commitment. In elementary school, she started at the Braden River Soccer Club, then moved to the Chargers, then FC Sarasota and then lastly to Tampa Bay United ECNL Rowdies. Tampa Bay has given Oliver most of her college coach exposure because it is one of the highest divisions for soccer, competing against teams throughout the United States.
Playing for this club requires practice three times a week, which is approximately an hour and a half away, and games on weekends. Balancing this schedule with the workload and rigor of IB has been a full plate the last four years of high school.
“All my hard work has paid off because I get to play at an amazing school for the next four years,” she said.
The end of high school is only a beginning for all the better and bigger things Oliver will accomplish in her life. Riverview will miss all the seniors in the 2019-20 school year, but Oliver looks forward to an experience few scholar athletes get to have.