All-American Soccer Player Ellen Coleman

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What is your major?
My major is Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Chemical Engineering.
When did you start playing soccer? Why?
I started playing soccer when I was 5 or 6 years old.  I wore my Mia Hamm jersey probably 3 days a week in grade school.

Why did you choose UR?
When I was choosing colleges, I knew I wanted to play Division III soccer and also wanted to attend a strong academic university.  A number of Universities in the UAA conference fit those standards. I went to University summer soccer camps and afterwards I decided to go on overnight visits to a few UAA Universities, UR included.  My visit to Rochester was what really affected my decision. I felt that I would fit in really well with the girls that I met and stayed with.  Terry and Sike, my coaches, were also a huge part of my decision. They were both extremely welcoming and enthusiastic throughout the entire recruitment process, and I was excited about the opportunity to play for them.

How would others describe you?
I think other people would describe me as intense and focused but still able to have fun.

How would you describe your academic experience at UR?
My academic experience so far has been challenging but also rewarding.  As I've progressed for the past 3 years as a BME major the classes have been increasingly difficult, but I've developed such close ties with my fellow students.  Our class of BME majors has developed into a tight knit community that makes dealing with our course load so much easier.  Our professors are also seriously committed to their students' success, and have been an extremely helpful resource for me over the past 3 years.

Who have been some of your role models? Why?
My former coach, Terry Gurnett, has been an invaluable role model for me over the past three years. Terry was a major factor in my decision to come to the U of R.  He has been coaching for over 30 years and literally built the women's soccer program from the ground up.  He has put so much of his time and careful attention into his teams, and his hard work shows in all the success he has had.  I value Terry's opinions and advice over just about anybody I've met in the U of R community.  He is the beloved coach of over 30 years worth of women's soccer players, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have played for him for the past three years.

How has playing a sport benefited you or impacted your college experience?
Being a soccer player is a huge part of my life as a UR student.  So much of my time during the fall season is spent at practice and on the road for games, that it makes time management not only important, but also absolutely critical.  Finding the right balance in juggling schoolwork with soccer is a huge challenge, but one that will absolutely pay off in my future.  Not only do student athletes have to manage their time, but also I've learned to manage my attention, trying to be completely focused at the task at hand.  Whether I'm in soccer mode, or school mode, it is important for me to make the distinction, and keep the other distractions out of mind. 

As an All-American, how do you adapt to teams that now know who you are and have some game plan to stop you? How do you still stay productive?
Knowing that teams know my tendencies on the field can actually be an advantage.  So while they may try to be more aware of what I'm doing on the field, it can free up my teammates and create dangerous opportunities.  If a team or defender is really hounding me it can be difficult not to get frustrated, but by remaining active and moving I can generally stay productive and relevant on the field. 

What are your plans beyond graduation?
I plan on working for Veeva Systems in New York City next year.

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