Alumna adopts Division I lifestyle

Megan Fahrney and Jenna Lasky, Staff Writers

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Alumna Maya Lambert (‘17) guards an opponent from Warren Township during a game on April 29, 2017. Lambert was recruited to play soccer at Purdue University during her sophomore year of high school.
Photo by Hailey Koretz

After a last-minute talk with her coach, Alumna Maya Lambert (‘17) was informed she would be one of six freshmen starting in her first college soccer game at Purdue University. As she stepped onto the field, she was shaking. Purdue was facing the University of Notre Dame. It was the first game of the season, and last year, Notre Dame had beaten Purdue 5-0. With Lambert playing center back, Purdue was able to shut down the Notre Dame offense and win 2-0.

In a phone interview, Lambert said playing college soccer was stressful at the beginning, but after a few games in the first two weeks of school, she was able to adjust to her schedule.

Lambert played for the Glenbrook North varsity girls soccer team as a freshman and again as a senior. Her sophomore and junior years were spent playing club soccer with Sockers FC Chicago in Schaumburg. She said she chose to play with a club team because she knew it would offer her more exposure to college coaches than playing with a high school team.

According to Lambert, she verbally committed to play for Purdue University in March of her sophomore year of high school.

Lambert’s mother, Heather Ross said she wanted to find a school that provided a good balance of both academics and athletics.

“We always told [Lambert] her education comes first, but soccer is a really important part of [her life] too, so she looked at a lot of schools that could sort of fulfill both,” Ross said.

According to Lambert, academic advisers at Purdue engineer her schedule so that she has a lighter course load during the soccer season. She is also able to get free tutoring provided by the school because of her athletic commitment.

“Playing soccer at a Big Ten school is almost like having another job,” said Ross. “I mean, her days are pretty much going from early in the morning to late at night, between school and soccer.”

During the fall season, Lambert said she wakes up at 6:30 a.m. for lifting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Every day, she attends class or has free time from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and then practices from approximately 3 to 7 p.m. Following practice, Lambert has dinner with her team, then returns to her dormitory to finish homework and relax.

According to Lambert, she found  it annoying that she was only able to go to one football game because most of her soccer games were during the football season. Otherwise, she does not feel she misses out on much being an athlete.

“The team usually has Mondays off during the season, so I have to go to class on Mondays, and I come [back to the dorm] and I’m like ‘Wow, I have so much time, what do people do with all their time when they don’t play sports?’” Lambert said.

Ross said she thinks this type of lifestyle is perfect for someone like Lambert, who likes to be this busy.

Lambert said her team has a nutritionist they meet with to manage their diets.

“We get something called a DEXA scan, which measures your body composition, about four to five times a year just to see how [you are] progressing during the season, whether you’re losing or gaining muscle,” Lambert said.

According to Lambert, the team sends pictures to each other of what they eat. They are split into two teams, and the team that eats the best during the week gets a pizza party.

In terms of her social life, Lambert said almost all her friends are also other athletes, which is beneficial because they understand the pressures of school and athletics.

“I feel like people say you’re missing out on Greek life, but our team is like a sorority … and all the other teams are like that as well,” Lambert said.

Ross said she thinks Lambert being on an athletic team makes it easy for her to socialize a lot.

Lambert said she does not regret playing Division I soccer at all.

“I couldn’t imagine myself without this busy schedule and without soccer.

“[It] helps me with time management and it is also just what I love to do,” Lambert said.

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Alumna adopts Division I lifestyle