Name: Crystal Lewin
Hometown: Irvine, CA
Could you tell us about your season and your NCAA championship game?
Winning the championship was an amazing achievement for us and for our program. It’s the first time in Williams Women’s Soccer history that we’ve won it all! However it didn’t come without its difficulties. We worked really hard on and off the field to get us to Kansas City and our team overcame so much to bring us as close as we were on that last day.
Our coach Michelyne always says that there is a difference between working hard and competing with fire. In the beginning of the year, we were working our butts off and winning games, but we were having difficulty expressing our fire and passion for the game, which manifested itself in our overall low energy. So even when we we’d win, we’d never finish our games as satisfied as we could have, which is extremely frustrating for competitive athletes. Mid-season, we had several inspiring team meetings filled with tears and a collective feeling of love and passion that completely turned us around. We began focusing on improving the team and improving communication with Michelyne and with each other. Once we were able to release that fire within us there was really nothing that could have stopped us from attaining our ultimate goal.
In the championship we started off slow and almost went down early in the game, but as soon as we gathered ourselves and started playing our beautiful game, we took control and earned that win. We’re a team that NEVER gives up no matter the circumstances, as we showed in the semi-finals against Centre. We went down early in the game and came back to win 2-1. After the game, I was walking with Michelyne, just taking in the ridiculousness of what we had just accomplished, and tears were streaming down my eyes. I have never been more proud of these girls than I was in that moment.
How did you guys celebrate your victory?
I mean we started our celebration as soon as the whistle blew. It was unreal. We were all beyond ecstatic. Everyone was crying tears of joy and hugging each other. When we were handed our giant trophy the look on everyone’s face was priceless. There really are no words to do those feelings justice.
Later that evening we had a banquet with our families after relaxing our exhausted bodies at the hotel for a couple of hours. We watched the highlight film that our assistant coaches created for us and had some laughs with each other as we shared stories and reminisced about our experiences together.
How has soccer impacted your experience of Williams?
Soccer has been an enormous part of my life at Williams. It takes up so much of your time and energy that you really need to learn how to manage it all so that you don’t neglect anything important. More importantly, though, is the social impact that soccer has had on me. Our team practices so much in the fall and spring that we are pretty much always together. We eat, study and hang out with each other everyday. Everyone cares about each other like family, so I’ve always had that support system whenever I’ve needed it. At first, I didn’t think I would fit in here, but after spending the time to adjust to the atmosphere with the help of the team, I ended up being so happy that I stayed. I’ve made lifelong friends and I know that these are people that will be at my wedding when I marry Johnny Depp for sure. And of course Michelyne is the main person to thank for me still being here. She is tough as nails when she needs to be, but she has also always been my mom away from home. She’s always been there for me and has always listened to anything I’ve wanted to talk about. I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for her.
Do you have any plans to play after graduation?
Yes! But it is complicated and still getting worked out. I went to a combine last summer where I was told that I displayed enough talent, and the right attitude and character to be recommended to clubs most likely somewhere in the Norwegian Premier League. They are still helping me try to kick-start my professional career, which is beyond exciting because soccer always has been and always will be such an integral part of me.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from playing sports at the collegiate level?
There are so many! I’ve always been a pretty reserved person. Not a lot of people know what goes on in my life besides what they can readily see, so I tend to be in my own head a lot of the time. And Michelyne helped me see that this manifests itself in soccer as well. Learning to live outside of my own head in certain moments has really changed my view on life. I’m able to see other perspectives. Once I learned to do this, I realized that there is just so much you can learn about literally everything. In terms of soccer, I realized that as soon as I got out of my own head and started putting the team over myself, great things started to happen. It’s still something I still struggle with but I know that this is a worthwhile challenge to continue to work at.