Sep 21, 2012, 10:59 AM EDT
“I wanted to try it. In recess, my friends were playing it and I just wanted to go for it.”
Freshman soccer player Crystal Thomas happened to try soccer when she was in the third grade, and now it has brought her to Notre Dame. Thomas has become an offensive powerhouse for the women’s soccer team within two short months as she currently leads the Fighting Irish offense in goals scored (4), and has amassed 15 shots and eight shots-on-goal.
Thomas is from Elgin, Illinois, located just northwest of Chicago. There, she won a Regional Championship and a State Cup with her club team (on which she played with fellow freshman Katie Naughton) as well as a state title with her high school team. While being a soccer star in high school, she also put a lot of effort into academics. (She was on High Honor Roll and was also a member of the National Honor Society.)
The hard worker in her shines through, especially in the nature of her goals for both on and off the soccer field. “My goals for this season [are] to be undefeated in the Big East…and then we want to go from there and get to the final four and then win the NCAA tournament. Off the field, I want to keep a good GPA, make solid friendships, and be spiritually challenged while working in my faith here at Notre Dame.”
On a team with eleven other freshmen, it might sometimes be hard to stand out, but the competition on the team is healthy, and it does not intimidate Thomas.
“I love all the freshmen. They’re just amazing people and I think that we’re going to help make each other better in all areas…we all have similar mentalities—you know, be the best. We’re all complements to each other.”
Student-athletes at Notre Dame never have much free time on their hands, but when Thomas does, she likes to watch movies, play jazz and rock drums (which she’s been doing since the fifth grade), socialize with her fellow Domers, and bond with her team.
Developing her relationships within the Notre Dame family is important, but so is her real family. She has two brothers: one older and one younger. Her parents, she says, are her biggest inspiration. “They’re just great role models. My dad’s always encouraged me to do my best in everything that I do, and my mom…is just an amazing person.”
Crystal Thomas is Irish through-and-through. She is “thankful and happy” with her decision to attend the University, shows great determination in everything she does, and sets standards for herself at a high, yet very much attainable, level. From the looks of things, she could most assuredly be holding an NCAA Championship trophy at least once within the next four years.
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