Graduating from college in three years isn't typical.
Maintaining a 3.98 grade-point average is even less common.
Accomplishing both of those while playing collegiate athletics and completing an internship with a Major League Soccer team seems impossible. But on May 20, Brooke Eveler will prove that it can be done when she is handed her Wilmington University diploma.
The Red Lion High School graduate lightheartedly admits she has an obsessive-compulsive-like motivation to do well in anything she undertakes. From taking college courses her senior year of high school to vying for the goalkeeper position for the Wilmington women's soccer team, drive and passion are behind everything she does -- something Wilmington coach Joe Ruggiero noticed. But she didn't just stand out to her coach. After a nomination from Ruggiero, Eveler was featured on NCAA.org. And, thanks to her internship with the Philadelphia Union, the York County native has landed a job with the Philadelphia Phillies' graphics and design team.
We caught up with Eveler in this week's edition of Sports Q&A:
When did you start playing soccer?
I was about 8 when I started playing. I grew up playing softball and I got into volleyball in junior high and played that in high school too, but pretty much from junior high on, soccer was my main focus.
Have you always played in the goal?
I played defense back in the intramural days. My best friend in elementary school was on a team with me and all my friends and she was the goalkeeper for our team and she wanted to go out on the field. So I went in and I just fell in love with it. I thought "this is awesome. I get to dive around and get all muddy."
When did you decide you wanted to grad uate from college in three years?
It was my senior year, after I had accepted the offer to go to Wilmington and I was taking dual-enrollment classes at Penn State York so they counted as both college and high school credits. When I was going through Wilmington's curriculum I found that by applying the credits I was already earning, and taking one extra class per semester and then two online for the summers I could get four years into three.
Because academics at the college level can be more overwhelming than high school, was there ever a time where you were con cerned you might not graduate early?
No. What's unique about Wilmington is that we have a block system. The classes are set up for seven weeks and you go once a week in that seven-week period for five hours a day. I tried to pick the classes that weren't on game days, obviously. And our practices are always at 7 in the morning, so we don't miss any classes during the day.
How did playing high school soccer for Red Lion prepare you to play collegiate level soccer?
At Red Lion, that competitive nature got me onto the varsity squad my freshman year, so I played varsity all four years. I was a freshman and there was a junior who was older than me, so she played. That was definitely a humbling experience, having to sit back, knowing I wanted to be out there, I wanted to be on the field too. That helped going into Wilmington because there were two of us recruited in the same class to be goalkeepers. So I had to take that fighting spirit with me into college.
Besides graduating early and with an out standing GPA, what are some other person al accomplishments that you've reached?
My sophomore season we went undefeated, so that was definitely a highlight of my college career. Having that season and going so far, setting CACC (Central Atlantic Athletic Conference) records, that's our conference. Another experience was my internship with the Philadelphia Union. It was one of the things I did over the summer and it was only supposed to be until August. I asked if they minded if I stayed on and my supervisor said he would love to have me stay on, so I ended up being there for over a year.
Why did you decide to pursue a graphics and design career with baseball and not soccer?
It worked out that way. There was a position opening with the Union in January while I was still in school but I wasn't qualified for it. Terrible timing for that, but luckily this position did open up with the Phillies right as I'm graduating. The MLS will always be expanding. Right now, working with the Phillies is a great opportunity to get a different side, a different experience in a different sport. Whatever I learn at the Phillies, I'm going to take what I learn and apply it to wherever I end up. Soccer is my main sport, it's my passion and I know the most about it, and I would love to get back into soccer and eventually maybe even run my own video department for an MLS team.
When you first started at Wilmington University, did you imagine you'd one day work for the Philadel phia Union and, even tually, the Phillies?
Absolutely not. I didn't even think of sports production until I got the internship. It just never clicked for me that there is a production side of sports. I was always playing it and I never thought about what goes on behind the scenes. I just fell in love with it. This is definitely the career path I want to be in. It combines the two things I love and that I'm passionate about.
-- Reach Abigail Hor sman at sports@yorkdis patch.com.