The Northwest women’s soccer team was awarded the United Coaches Team Academic Award Sept. 26.
The award is given to a team that has achieved outstanding academic success. The award is for a team who excels on and off the soccer pitch and puts grades above athletics. The team has to have a combined composite GPA of 3.0.
“This award is as important as the game is as a collegiate coach,” Northwest women’s soccer coach Marc Gordon said. “Knowing my players are prioritizing academics is important to me. If they don’t get the academic piece, they don’t get the soccer piece. That they chose to play soccer, but the strengths of academics at Northwest brought them here.”
This is the third consecutive year for the soccer team to win the award. The team works hard to maintain this level of excellence every year.
“We have a study hall program that players can graduate from,” Gordon said. “On road trips, we always dedicate some time to focus on academics. But for the most part, I think that players take it among themselves with tutoring and the SI offered at the University. Really, the players take advantage of what is available to all students.”
The athletic programs at Northwest are good about maintaining a high GPA throughout the entire department. GPA is something that Northwest Athletics prides itself upon.
“I think we do a really good job. But collectively as a department, we do a great job with all athletes collectively by having over a 3.0,” Gordon said. “I think, departmentally, we have figured it out.”
Gordon is happy to have a group of girls he doesn’t have to worry about in the classroom. He has a team that can maximize the little time they have in between classes and athletics.
“I think that within our office, we have set up a system of openness and trust,” Gordon said. “It’s not, ‘Why aren’t you performing?’ It's, ‘What can we do to help you and make you get where you want?’ It takes off a lot of the burden.”
The team not only has a coaching staff pushing for good academic standing, but the players take it upon themselves to get good grades.
“Good grades are a team philosophy, and we all push ourselves to do better and hold each other accountable,” junior midfielder Marissa Schmitt said.
“It is a lot of balance, but once you get into a routine and kind of balance everything, you figure it out,” Schmitt said. “There is a lot of support around, too. So as long as you use your time wisely, it comes pretty easily.”
The soccer team is focused on grades as well as athletics. Some teams struggled to figure out how to balance both. The award symbolizes Northwest soccer’s ability to do just that.