Having played for almost 18 years now, it is obvious that Lauren Hood is passionate about the sport that she has dedicated herself to year after year: soccer.
“We don’t get athletic scholarships or anything like that, we play because we love it,” she said.
However, playing for UD has brought about new challenges for Hood. From having new coaches to dealing with breaking stereotypes that she often faces, Hood faces these challenges with the same attitude she approaches soccer.
“We’ve experienced it all,” Hood said. “I’ve had successful seasons, okay seasons, and then not so great ones. We’ve experienced winning and losing to extremes, so now when we lose it’s easy to keep our heads up and just look forward to the next game. I think it’s more of a positivity thing.”The team made it to the SCAC tournament her freshman and sophomore year, but during her junior year they faced obstacles. Along with not making it to the SCAC tournament, they only won four games and the spirit of the team struggled.
“Compared to last year, our leadership has definitely improved,” Hood said. “I think, especially in our generation, we have this idea of hierarchies. People sometimes think that because they’re older or younger that you have a status.”
However, with new coach Lexi Stinson and excited freshmen on the team, Hood is hopeful and optimistic for this season.
“I think we’ve kind of established that we all have the same end goal,” Hood said. “We’ve only been playing with each other for three weeks. Everyone is on the same boat in terms of winning and training hard.”
The struggles that she’s conquered and faced head-on out on the field have helped her break the stereotype of being a student athlete at UD.
“You’d be surprised at the amount of times I’ve had professors tell me I should quit and just focus on school. It’s frustrating, because when I play I’m representing them by playing for the school they work for.”
Hood says that, like most athletes, her grades go up when she’s in season.
“It’s pretty easy managing school and a sport, you have set times and learn to really manage your time. It forces you to study.”
She faces other challenges with her peers. In Hood’s experience, some people have automatically assumed that she is uninterested in school, only hangs out with her team, and parties more than she should, simply because she plays for the women’s soccer team.
“A lot of the time, the people that are giving us this stereotype aren’t athletes,” Hood said. “They don’t have to juggle school and a sport. We’re held more accountable from our professors because we miss days.”
Hood states that in the past there was a huge emphasis on team bonding, but not so much this year. Rather than this hindering the team, Hood sees it as a good thing.
“We spend so much time practicing and traveling to games that not having as much team bonding this season is good, so that we get the chance to be with other people.”
The biology-nursing major and senior captain is optimistic about the upcoming season. With Hood’s leadership and perseverance on the field and off it, success seems to be the only thing in the near future for the women’s soccer team this season.