After years of nonstop, high-level competition in some of the top youth leagues in the country, Garrett decided she needed a break.
“By the end of it, I was pretty burnt out,” she recalled.
It was a choice she initially felt confident in.
‘I Don’t Know Who I Am’
The first moment of doubt came in the dining hall.
“I was in line to get food and this girl comes up to me and says, ‘Oh is this a line that’s only for athletes?’ Maybe because of how I was dressed or something,” Garrett said. “So I just told her no I wasn’t. Then in my head I was like…‘but I am an athlete.”
For Garrett, her yearslong dedication to training and competing wasn’t just a lifestyle, but an integral part of who she was, particularly coming from a family of professional, All-American, and Division I athletes. Her father told her she’d regret giving up the sport. She hadn’t believed him until now.
“I remember calling my dad and telling him he was right—I don’t know who I am. I’m having an identity crisis,” she said.
The Perfect Balance
When Garrett saw a table for women’s soccer at the club fair the next day, she jumped at the opportunity.
“I didn’t even have my cleats because I didn’t plan on playing,” she said. “So I just showed up in my tennis shoes and went through the tryout on the turf, slipping around everywhere.”
Even before she officially made the team, Garrett knew she’d found a home.
The toxicity and high pressure of her youth soccer experience, she said, were replaced with a challenging but supportive environment.
“It was the perfect balance,” she said. “Everyone was really good and competitive, but they were also there to have fun.’’
Now a junior, Garrett is not only a member of the team, but was one of four captains last fall, alongside seniors Dana DiBella, Alex Bedard, and Maria Marucci. Garrett said the bond between teammates is so strong because of how much the game has meant throughout each of their lives.
For one teammate in particular, sophomore Isabelle Damo, those bonds stretched back to her youth. Damo shared with her captains that a former coach who was formative in her early playing days, Patricio Meneses, Ph.D., was now an associate dean and professor in the biology department.
“She told us he might be interested in coaching our team, so we reached out over the summer and thought he was great, so we brought him in,” Garrett said. “He’s been a huge help.”
As Garrett continues to learn the various duties and responsibilities of running a club team, she said she can’t imagine her Fordham experience without club soccer.
“Without having that outlet, just being able to go run around, do my best, compete—a big part of myself would be missing,” she said. “You dedicate so much of your life to something that it just becomes like a part of you and who you are.”
Learn more about getting involved on campus at fordham.edu/clubs.