The University of Alabama Women’s Soccer team represents the idea that through hard work, tenacity, and perseverance, it is possible to make history, overcome immense challenges, and embrace the potential for greatness.
McKinley Crone, goalkeeper and graduate student for the Crimson Tide, explains that “this past fall was by far my favorite year of college soccer I’ve ever played. It was not only our program record for games won, but we also won the first-ever NCAA game in program history, which was super cool to be a part of.”
Kat Rogers, midfielder and graduate student at Alabama, echoed this sentiment.
“Last season was a good season for us, it was the best season I’ve had since I’ve been here. We don’t want to just settle. We want to build off of last season and turn it from a team that has potential to a team that’s actually doing stuff,” she added.
Both Rogers and Crone believed their most recent season in Fall of 2021 to be their last, but the players couldn’t help but see the positive changes in their team..
“Coming to Alabama, I think the biggest thing that drew me here is that the soccer team is just developing,” Rogers said. “I like being part of a program that I can look back in four years and say, ‘okay, I helped build it into something better than I found it.’”
“We’ve been through a lot to get to where the team is now,” she finished.
“Last season, every single person on the team, whether they were a starter or didn’t play a single minute- everybody was bought into the success of the team, and that’s what was able to separate us last year,” Crone said.
“Going into this year, we are trying to hold ourselves to that standard.”
Teammates aren’t just friends- They’re Family
When asked about the meaning of being part of a team, Rogers and Crone emphasized just how important the relationships they have with their teammates are, both on and off the field.
“Being on a college team, that’s kind of like your family away from home,” Rogers said. “The girls on my team have been some of my best friends, you get really close on and off the field.”
“They’re family. They’re people I’m going to turn to, they’re people that I go to when I’m having a bad day or a good day whatever it is. They’re the ones that are there for you, so I’m really lucky to have them.”
“It’s bigger than yourself,” Crone mentioned. “This team is a family. A lot of coaches and schools will tell you that, but they don’t actually mean it or follow through in their actions, but this program genuinely means that when they say it. I felt it the most this past year really,” she continued.
Advice to their Younger Selves
College sports, specifically women’s programs, can be a difficult adjustment. Crone and Rogers reflected on what they would tell a young athlete about the college recruitment process.
“Know that there is going to be a transition when you get there,” Rogers said. “Coming out of high school, no matter how prepared you are, there’s going to be a transition. Accept that as a way to grow and lean into it with your teammates around you and grow together.”
She advised athletes looking to join a team to make sure they “don’t already make up your mind on where you’re going to go, or who you can talk to and who you’re not going to talk to prior to starting your process. Make sure you’re not closing off your options before you get them.”
Crone, who had a different perspective after transferring schools her Junior year, said she would tell her younger self that “if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.”
“Getting to start and play my freshman year was intimidating, but you have to have confidence in yourself that you’ve prepared, and if they’re playing you, they truly want you out there,” she said.
With passionate, dedicated players such as Rogers and Crone who have built the program into a force to be reckoned with, the future of Alabama women’s Soccer is promising. The coming seasons will be an exciting opportunity for the team to build upon their recent progress and achievements.