Athletes playing two sports is not a rarity, but when the two sports both have something in common it can become an advantage for the athlete.
Senior Nicole De Almeida is an example of this. On top of being a senior captain and defender for the soccer team, De Almeida is also a sprints and middle distance runner for Keene State’s track team as well.
De Almeida said, “When I was first looking at schools I did want to do both sports, so Keene was awesome in the fact that it was D3 and I was able to choose to play soccer and do track.” With De Almeida participating in both track and soccer, she said that she does not prefer one sport over the other. “They both have their pros and cons, but I enjoy doing both equally,” De Almeida said.
With both track and soccer involving a heavy amount of running, it gives De Almeida an edge when it comes to soccer season. Coach Denise Lyons said, “She is in tip top shape, really really fit, works very hard on her fitness, runs a lot so I never have to worry about her being in shape.”
Doing track in the offseason means that De Almeida is constantly running and working out, which translates to her being in better shape when soccer comes around. Senior midfielder Patricia Norton said, “Having an offseason in track really keeps her in shape so when she comes into the soccer season she’s already a step ahead.”
Her speed is also a factor that helps her in soccer as well. Being a defender, De Almeida has to have the speed to get back whenever the other team has the ball in the defensive zone. Norton said, “Whenever they get a breakaway she can always catch them, she’s just way faster than any of the forwards we play against.”
De Almeida has garnered the respect of her teammates, making her a team captain in her senior year. Lyons said, “She brings so much to the team, she’s a unanimous team captain, I allow my team to select their leader and she was unanimously selected as a leader for the team, and she leads both on and off the field. She’s a very good student and is an absolute pleasure to have on the team.”
While the team did have a disappointing season last year, De Almeida said, “I think we have a lot of potential, I think last year was kind of a rough year but I think with a lot of returners coming back hopefully we’ll come back stronger.”
Although the team lost their first game against Western New England, Lyons said, “Even though we lost we dominated that team so I’m very optimistic that we’re going to have a much better year than last year and a lot of it will be Nicole in the back covering for us.” The Owls will next play on Saturday, September 14, at Castleton University.
Austin Smith can be contacted