Dec. 08, 2014

Ashley Thompson
athomp13@uccs.edu

At four years old, Hope Whitman started kicking around a soccer ball, and she hasn’t stopped since. She just wrapped up her last season at UCCS, but soccer isn’t the only sport that’s been prominent in Whitman’s athletic career.

“I was really big into gymnastics as well up until my sophomore year of high school,” said Whitman. “Then it got too busy and my coaches told me I had to pick one.”

Whitman was spending four hours in the gym every day after soccer practice, and said that the time commitment factored into her decision to choose soccer. Gymnastics was also hard on her body and she sustained several injuries.

Her home away from college is in Glenwood Springs. In her high school years she felt that there was not a highlevel soccer club team that was easily accessible. Grand Junction was the nearest one, but that required driving over an hour just to get to practice.

Despite that challenge, Whitman was able to travel to play in tournaments around the country.

“We took some trips to Virginia and North Carolina,” she said. “I fell in love with it. That made me want to keep playing soccer.”

Whitman is pursuing a major in physical therapy and would like to work in outpatient rehab. She has had personal experience in sports medicine and intends to go to graduate school to complete her training.

“When I was 13 I had a bone tumor removed, and had to go through physical therapy to strengthen my muscles. I also have really bad tendonitis so I’ve done a lot of PT,” said Whitman.

Whitman just wrapped up her fourth and final season as a Mountain Lion.

“The season was not as good as we wanted it to be,” she said. “However, this year was my favorite year playing at UCCS.”

Whitman feels that the chemistry on this year’s team was the best it has ever been, due in part to a deliberate team effort.

“My freshman year I was so scared of the seniors and the upperclassmen. This year we made an extra effort to make sure nobody was scared of us and we included everybody,” she said.

Whitman is thankful for the opportunity to play collegiate soccer. Though her senior year was her favorite, her sophomore season sticks out as a positive experience.

“We had such a good season, all the games went in our favor,” said Whitman. “The team was really dynamic, we got along really well and we wanted it for each other.”

Whitman attributes her soccer success to one thing: effort.

“Work hard every second you’re out there, because hard work will show up skill any day.”