Alumni Spotlight: Gabrielle Pointkowski
SDA alumni, Gabby Piontkowski from our girls 2000 team, has had a challenging college soccer career but persevered. Gabby is a sophomore at Binghamton University where she plays outside back for the D1 program. During her freshman preseason, she was experiencing tremendous pain in her chest and difficulty breathing. She went to the hospital and found out she had a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in her lungs. Gabby’s oncologist told her to quit soccer because it would be too dangerous for her health. Gabby wasn’t going to give up on her biggest passion that easily.
Gabby joined our SDA Girls ‘00 team in 2013 with head coach Tommy Tanner. In an interview, Gabby said, “My SDA coaches pushed me every single day to be my best and improve every practice or game. They let me know that its ok to fail because that’s the only way you will develop as a player. My SDA coaches have really taught me how to have confidence in myself and believe in the process.” Gabby noted that her favorite memory with her SDA team was making it to nationals in 2016.
“SDA prepared me for collegiate soccer in so many ways. I’ve learned so many lessons, on and off the field, that I brought with me to college. I think the most important way SDA has prepared me for college soccer was all the tournaments and events we went to. Getting the opportunity to play at so many different places against a lot of different skill levels really developed me as a player.”
After Gabby received the news that she should never play soccer again, she was devastated. She dreamed all her life of playing collegiate soccer. Her family, friends, teammates and coaches were all so supportive during this time, that she decided to get a second opinion. The next oncologist cleared Gabby to return to soccer. After nine long months of just doing technical drills, running, and lifting, she was cleared to return to full contact.
“My favorite college soccer memory was this past season, starting in my first college scrimmage. With all my health issues in the year prior I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to play soccer again, so stepping out on that field and playing meant the world to me.”
Gabby went from red-shirting freshman year, to hearing she could never play soccer again, to starting in almost every game her sophomore year. Gabby noted that she wouldn’t have been able to get through it without her parents being as supportive as they were.
Gabby was awarded the “Comeback Player” award at the end of season banquet. “Receiving the “Comeback Player” award from the team meant so much to me. Especially because I didn’t even think I was going to step on the field and play this past season. So, to be able to come back, play every game, and then receive the recognition from my teammates for all my hard work really meant a lot to me. I couldn’t have done all of that without their support.”
Gabby has shown tremendous strength and dedication over these past two years. We are proud to have such a motivated, hardworking alumni! We cannot wait to see what you bring to the field this coming season! #SDA #Weareone #SDAStrong