AtheElites: Rachel Nerison

Emily Gresbrink: First of all, congrats on being the second-ever AthElite of the week!

Rachel Nerison: Thank you.

EG: How long have you been playing (in general)?

I’ve been playing soccer since I was five years old, so that would mean 16 years, almost 17 years.

EG: Wow, that’s a long time.

RN: Yeah, it’s been a huge part of my life.

EG: How long have you been playing here (at UWEC)?

RN: This is my fourth year; I’m a senior here.  So since my freshman year.

EG: What got you into playing soccer, particularly in college?

RN: Well, soccer is something I really enjoyed growing up and I just decided I wanted to continue to pursue it in college because I wasn’t ready to give it up. Eau Claire had a lot of great things to offer me — I’m a nursing major and they have a great nursing program. They also have a very good soccer program, so I figured why not do two things I love at once.

EG: That totally makes sense — I mean, if they’re both there, then … well, why not go for it?

RN: Yeah, definitely. Definitely.

EG: What’s your favorite part of playing soccer? 

RN: I think my favorite part of playing soccer is just being able to go out and forget about everything else that’s going on in my life and just really have fun and enjoy the time I get to spend with my teammates because my teammates are definitely like family for me.

EG: Nice. What is a “game day” like for a soccer player such as yourself?

RN: My mind is always in the game from the time I wake up and I’m constantly mentally preparing myself. Then, usually about two hours before game time we’ll meet as a team, go over the logisitics, try to mentally prepare as a team. Then we have our own time to hang out, go see trainers, then we start warming up an hour before game time and it’s a lot of gathering as a team. Just really pumping up and encouraging each other, doing what we have to do individually so we’re ready to start when the whistle blows. And then, just playing our hearts out for 90 minutes and getting a result we want.

EG: That’s awesome. What do you think makes an AthElite? 

RN: I think any AthElite does very well in the classroom. I think it’s just definitely the dedication and attitude.

To be a college athlete you need a lot of dedication (in the classroom too), and I think here (in my experience), my coaches are very supportive of us in our academics because they know academics come first, so they definetely help us in that aspect. You definetely have to learn to balance your time well, but it’s totally worth it. It’s gotta be something that you want to do.

EG: Now, everyone gets one narcissist moment.
Do you think you fit that description you just gave?

RN: Yeah, I guess so (laughs).

EG: My last question, what’s your favorite store to shop at and why? 

RN: My favorite store to shop at … oh man. Probably the grocery store. I really like Cub Foods, it’s my favorite store to go to back home.  I really like food and I’ve just always really enjoyed going to the grocery store since I was a little kid.