Throughout the season, Sam Houston freshman defender Ellie Chapple will provide a players' perspective of the Bearkat soccer campaign. The squad readies to open a four-match homestand on Friday night against Louisiana after spending four of its first five games on the road.

Chatting With Chappy -- 8 September 2017
Starting out at Sam Houston was a very different transition. It was much easier for the soccer girls because we get here in early July, allowing us to learn the town and campus without all the cars and people. We started practices with the team (no coaches allowed!!). The older girls showed us the basic swing of practices, starting with a lap around the field followed with dynamic stretching. We began to learn how the other girls play and the team's style of play. We did a lot of scrimmaging which really helped get comfortable with playing at the collegiate level.

Along with learning how the girls played, we also got to make friends with the team as a whole. The older girls hosted team dinners and team bonding activities. We also had to take a summer class. Taking one class allowed us to adjust to the way college works without all the stress of 4 other classes. We also had a lot of free time to get homework, quizzes, and tests done. It was also nice having only athletes on campus (with the exception of random older people taking summer school classes). We got to know football, basketball, volleyball, and a few baseball players.  

Right before preseason, we moved into Lonestar. Let me just say, it was extremely nice moving into our dorm without the havoc of everyone else moving in. Starting preseason was extremely different from anything I've ever done. We had practices in the morning and weights in the afternoon. We also had meetings and team dinners/bonding. Practices were very intense and a bit scary at first. We do a lot of scrimmaging to show Coach Brown how "game fit" we are and to also show him how we are as a player. However, we quickly adjusted to the coaching style. We ended preseason with a scrimmage against Texas A&M (which was scary), but it allowed us to see what we all could improve on.  

Eventually, school approached and everyone started to show up. We continued practice and began to focus on the season. Once school starts, we have practice in the morning, school afterwards, then (depending on the day) weights. It's a little rough adjusting to the busy schedule. The mornings are especially busy with having practice then going straight to class.

Although, it is very nice having other athletes around who understand the struggles of a student-athlete – parking, practice, walking EVERYWHERE, homework, and games. We are good friends with the baseball boys and (some) volleyball girls, along with random people who live in the dorm. We all hang out in the lobby area and living room area on each floor. We play a lot of ping-pong, listen to music, do homework together, and talk about anything and everything.

Finally, as conference approaches, I am getting very excited for what this season has to bring. I think the seniors/juniors have done a really good job setting the standard for what we need to accomplish. I also think the team as a whole has done a great job of hyping all the girls up and making us look at the bigger picture – winning conference.