KSC junior succeeds on the field and in the N.H. Air National Guard

Dalton Charest

Equinox Staff

A young college student, standing just over five feet tall wakes up on an early Saturday morning while the rest of Keene State College’s students catch their beauty rest from a previous night out.

She showers, brushes her teeth, and hangs up her dirty, grass stained soccer uniform from the game the night before.
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She then pulls out the other uniform that’s hung up right next to the one she just put away.

The differences in the two uniforms are undeniable. Instead of having “Cole” printed on the back of the uniform, her name is instead placed on the right chest plate.  Rather than donning the red, black and white colors that represent KSC, this uniform is camouflaged with the words “U.S. Air Force” printed on the front.

Beverly Cole, 21, known to most as “Bev,” doesn’t live the normal life of a first-year midfielder on KSC’s women’s soccer team.  She is a junior transfer from the University of New Hampshire and one of nine children to Bill and Judy Cole of Madbury, N.H.,

Beverly Cole’s life after high school has been one unique adventure that many people only dream of.

Graduating from Oyster River High School in 2009, Cole took initiative in starting her life right away.

Instead of heading straight into college and following her dream of playing college soccer, she jumped on an airplane and headed to Guadalajara, Mexico for eight months. This was certainly no vacation.

Cole volunteered at a Guadalajaran church in an outreach program that aids lower-class children who struggle everyday just to live a normal childhood.

She volunteered not only once during her time in Mexico, but twice when she also began assistant teaching at a bilingual school in the area. Cole also picked up Spanish in her time in Guadalajara, which inspired her to make the language her major at KSC.

As soon as her Mexico adventure ended, Cole embarked on a new journey which would end up being a defining moment in choosing her career.  When Cole got home from Guadalajara, she enlisted her services into the N.H. Air National Guard.

“I was going to go eleven months in Guadalajara, but I came back after eight so I could enlist and go to all my training and get back into school so I didn’t miss another full year,” Cole said.

She added, “I enlisted a week later and already had a handshake agreement.”

Taking a two-hour-plus drive to Portsmouth, N.H. once a month for her job, Cole is known at Pease National Guard Air Base as Senior Airman Cole.

This was no walk in the park gaining the rank of Senior Airman and having the job as a Command Post Controller at Pease by the age of 21.

Travelling to different states all over the country for training, whether it was in Nebraska, Texas, Mississippi or Illinois, Cole certainly earned her stripes according to Master Sergeant Brian J. Cummings, a Senior Controller and one of Cole’s commanding officers at Pease.

“Her dedication level is very high and she’s always willing to go the extra mile here in the Command Post,” Master Sergeant Cummings said.

Cummings added, “She was at the top of her class for her Tech School training in Keesler, Miss., and since returning has excelled in attaining a promotion to Senior Airman as well as helping out with many high profile exercises and operational events here at Pease.”

When most college students are usually typing up a 10-page paper about the mating cycles of dragonflies on Sunday evening, Cole is at work excelling at what she does in the Guard, according to her commanding officer.

“The missions she deals with here at Pease involve presidential support, and operational air refueling missions that impact a full multi-service spectrum,” Cummings said.  “There is very little room for error and Bev is accomplished beyond her age, rank and experience level.”

You’re not likely to hear anyone on campus referring to Beverly Cole as Senior Airman Cole. But if you take a small walk to the soccer fields, you’re certainly going to find her sweating bullets running up and down the field with the rest of her teammates during a practice or game.

Before she transferred from the University of New Hampshire to KSC while studying abroad in Spain last semester, Cole was a soccer player who had always dreamed of stepping foot onto a college soccer field once again.

Keeping in contact with longtime friend and current teammate Kara Pavlidis, who played with Cole at Oyster River High School, Cole’s burning desire to play college soccer grew every time the two talked. Pavlidis, a midfielder on KSC’s women’s soccer team, would always describe to Cole how well the women’s soccer team was doing at KSC.

Cole described the feeling as a well-intended jealousy that was just a longing to see another minute on the soccer field at a competitive level that she knew she could compete at.

“I was kind of jealous of her [Pavlidis], in a good way, because she was kind of doing something I wanted to do despite all the really cool experiences I had done in the two years before,” Cole said.

Cole added, “I wanted to play soccer and I missed it a lot but my time at UNH just never allowed me to do so I decided to transfer to Keene and see if I could play.”

Pavilidis said, “I think she pushes me more when she’s around. Just having that one person who’s been with you throughout almost your whole soccer career, it’s special and different than just people who I met here freshman year.”

Pavlidis added, “We just have that type of connection where if she’s cheering for me on the sideline, I want to push myself harder for some reason.”

With everything going on in Cole’s life from a professional and college perspective, one might not believe there’s absolutely anyway she is able to ever even talk to her family, never mind see them.

To be clear, Cole can tell you herself that assumption is absolutely wrong.

Being the sixth child of nine in what she said is a very well-rounded family, consisting of five boys and four girls, Cole works in time to talk to every single one, even to some who don’t even live at home anymore. Despite it all, she described her family as a true blessing.

“Don’t mean to brag or anything, but my parents are awesome,” Cole said. “My dad, especially on the sports side of things is a huge support and gets so into it. Especially soccer.”

She added, “He’s been calling me every night actually and asking how practice went and what stuff we’ve worked on so that’s kind of exciting to have him rooting in the background.”

Cole said her larger than life family isn’t out of a Hollywood movie but they are a large component in her life.

“At home it’s not like ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ when they’re throwing spaghetti sauce and pulling pranks,” Cole said.

She added,  “It’s definitely not like that and I don’t think my mom would ever let that fly for one. Now a lot of us are kind of separated living at other places and getting married and moved out. There aren’t as many people at home but when we get back together it’s so much fun. On the holidays we’re all back together and just hang out.”

Bill Cole said his confidence in his daughter remains strong as he encourages her every step of the way acting as her shoulder for support.  “I love watching my daughter play the game at increasingly complex levels,” Bill Cole said. “I believe she respects the game as well by competing in a manner that honors God, her teammates, coaches, opponents, refs, and herself.  Bev is so grateful for the opportunity to practice and compete at the D-III level,” Bill Cole said.

“We often chat after her practices about how she loves the team and about how much fun she’s having, despite the intensity of her practices.”

Beverly Cole is not the first of her family to join the military. Cole said she is the third of the nine children in the family to join an Air National Guard branch.

“Her faith in God and in the Bible provides the context for how she lives her life,” Bill Cole said. “She’s bubbly, vivacious, chatty, self-confident, secure and capable. She makes me smile!  Can you tell I’m a proud Dad?”

As for this year’s KSC soccer season, Cole said she was excited about the coming months that will define the reasons of why she brought the game of soccer back to her life.

“I think we have a really unique group where we’re actually really close and the team bond is really strong so that’s a good environment to come into. I just want to try and get playing time and try to prove myself in practice and prove as much as I can.”

Time and time again Cole has been able to show that she has what it takes for a young college student to make it in this world before she ever even enrolled.


Dalton Charest can be contacted at



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