Sometimes timing is everything.
High school athletes have had things tough the past year.
It’s not just lost games, and even seasons, it’s losing chances to get noticed by college coaches.
Many great athletes will never get a chance to be seen, or scouted, because of COVID.
Luckily for Athens’ Emma Roe, she beat COVID, and had her college decision made before things were shut down.
“It was so weird,” Roe said of the past year. “I was so thankful I got to commit and get campus trips in before everything got shut down and we had to quarantine.”
When Roe visited Wagner, a Division I program just outside New York City, the Athens star fell in love.
“When I went on my campus visit, it’s very small hometown like,” Roe said. “With it being so close to the city, yet it has grass and trees and hills. It reminds me of Athens.”
Roe made the decision to play soccer for the Seahawks, and she knows that the timing couldn’t have been better.
“It was so important, because club also shut down, so I haven’t had any college coaches able to continue watching me play,” Roe said. “The shutdown for Division I coaches is until January 1, so they are still unable to come watch people play. I am so thankful some players on my team and I were able to commit and be fully done with the whole search.”
With her high school season over, Roe is ready for the next level.
“I am so excited,” she said. “I talked to Phil Casella, the Wagner coach today, and everything has been working out, and filled out, so basically it is just on to the next step.”
Already the senior is starting to look to the next level.
“I have had conditioning and strength training packets,” Roe said. “Now, I’m back in club training so now it’s more higher level than what high school was.”
While many athletes focus on just working on their weaknesses, Roe has other things in mind. She wants to also keep getting better at things that are already strengths.
“I really want to improve some of my offensive skills such as my first touches and making my dribbling softer and faster,” Roe said. “Everything technically and physically, such as strength training and conditioning. Being able to run for long periods of time, even though some people say I can always run forever, but everything can be improved on.”
This year, Roe took on a different role for the Wildcats and excelled, leading the team in goals, as she was dominant throughout the NTL, earning league player of the year honors.
For Roe, the offensive outburst helps her realize what she is capable of doing as a player.
“It was very helpful with my confidence,” she said. “Just seeing my stats go up and everything just improving. I saw a big change in my offensive game and my style of play, and a lot of that goes to coach (Rich) Pitts as well.”
After being a key piece on some dominant Athens teams loaded with stars, this year Roe became the focal point of the Wildcats.
With that, came defenses putting all their focus on the Wildcats senior.
“It was a little different,” Roe said. “A lot of the younger players, freshmen, and sophomores and juniors, they stepped up to help me out. Even though I was defended a lot more than everyone else, there were a lot of girls who stepped up to help us out.”
While Roe is a star for the Wildcats, she knows next year she starts over as a freshman.
“I am definitely going to have to earn my spot, either with playing time or a starter position,” Roe said. “I’m sure some of the girls on this team are great, I have met a few of them already, and I’m just excited to be there.”
One thing that helps Roe is she had teammates like Rachel Hutchison, who started for D1 St. Bonaventure, and Abby Sindoni, a D2 soccer player, so she was used to fitting in on a great team.
“As a player growing up seeing that team always comes first over your own personal stats is very helpful,” Roe said. “I am sure I am not going to be a starter or anything. Let’s just face it, I am going to have to earn my spot.”
For Roe, Wagner was a good spot for her academically.
“I am going for business administration — being so close to the city — getting internships and possible job offers past that is my goal,” Roe said.
Things will be a bit different for Roe next year.
She will have a smaller town feel still, but she’ll be just outside the biggest city in the world.
“It is going to be a big change,” Roe said. “Thankfully Wagner is a small school, so it’s kind of like Athens, but a 20 minute train ride to the city.”