"Striker of the Year" Wants to Keep Playing Soccer
Soccer has been part of Mariah Williams’ life since she was 5 years old. Today the SDA alum is in her final semester at SUNY Albany, where she has distinguished herself on the soccer field.
“My older sister played soccer, and I wanted to play because she played,” Williams says. “I always played up in order to be on her team.”
Williams, from Utica, has always played forward or midfield. She loves being involved in some way in all of the goals. The game of soccer appeals to her because “it allows me so much freedom to be creative,” she explains.
Leading the league with 17 goals and 38 points, Williams was named the America East Striker of the Year. She is a career leader in goals — 34 — and points — 78.
Also, Williams and fellow SDA alum Caroline Kopp are the first two players in Great Dane history to be named to the All Region Second Team.
She chose to attend Albany because it’s close to home and because she liked the coaching staff.
Because she wasn’t sure what to expect, Williams remembers the start of her freshman year being somewhat scary. Her teammates put her at ease.
Balancing soccer training and games with classes and schoolwork seemed like it would be impossible, she admits, but she learned from teammates how to manage all of the demands. Also, the school has helpful academic advisors for the athletes, and she says her professors were understanding about her travel schedule.
“Soccer has made me so much more able to work well with other people,” Williams says of her sport.
She is a biology major who can see herself working in sports medicine. Having struggled with a hamstring tear herself, she has some interest in helping other athletes through injuries. Williams says she may become a doctor, or a physician assistant — sometime in the future.
For now, she hopes to keep soccer in her life for a while longer. She has tryouts with a few National Women’s Soccer League teams, and she’s also considering playing overseas after graduation.