Past Pupil, Lauren, makes waves in the US College Soccer Scene

Carson-Newman is a liberal arts Southern Baptist college located in Jefferson City, Tenessee, USA.  As is usual for American universities sports play a massive part in the life of the college; including soccer.  One of their players, midfielder Lauren Wade, is having a big impact on the league this season, having finished the season at the top of the national leaderboard in points per game. She has scored an impressive 20 goals from midfield, the fifth highest in the history of the league. 

She has been recognised by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and the D2CAA, both of whom placed Lauren on one of their “All-American” teams; as well as being named the Southeast Region Player of the Year.

But what matters most to us here in Dunluce is that Lauren Wade is one of our own. 

She left Dunluce in 2010 before going on to the Northern Regional College to study Sports Development, Coaching and Fitness.  “On completion in 2012 I was accepted into Ulster University, Jordanstown where I studied a BSc (hons) Degree in Sport: Theory & Practice. During my time at Ulster University I undertook a placement year in America coaching football for Global Premier Soccer.”  This then lead to Lauren being offered a 2 year soccer scholarship at Carson-Newman University where she is studying for a Master’s in Business Administration. 

“I am very blessed and thankful for the opportunity to play the sport I love whilst gaining an education. I have the most supportive family who all believe in what I am doing and are very proud of me. To play football everyday is a dream come true.”

“I am here to focus on my football so having class one day a week suits me perfectly. We train as a team everyday of the week; we play our conference matches on Wednesdays and Saturdays with Sunday as a recovery day. Also with only having one class a week I have a lot of free time so I am able to do a lot of work on my own on the pitch to make sure I stay fit and healthy. There is nothing better than playing football everyday. “

The Dunluce past pupil had shown a talent for football from an early age.  While with us she quickly showed natural ability on the football pitch.  And she worked hard to build on this  “When you have dreams and aspirations you will do whatever it takes to make sure you achieve these. I believe that my constant hard work, dedication and commitment to my education and my sport have got me to where I am today.”

And where she is today is winning her award after award.  Recently she was given the accolade, South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year.  She admits that she was shocked and honoured to be named Player of the Year, but was quick to share the credit with her team mates, 

“without this team I wouldn’t have won the award. We have a fantastic team, we all make each other great and I am thankful to them.”

Lauren’s modesty is striking.  She is happy to talk about the people who have helped her along the way,  “Many of my coaches from back home have been an influence to me throughout my football career and always push me to achieve the best. However, my mum was my biggest influence to pursue my dream of getting a scholarship in the USA, she pushes me and always wants the best for me.”

But she must take a lot of credit for herself.  It is her own hard work that led to her being selected to play for the Northern Ireland Women’s Team in World Cup and European Championship qualifiers.  In total she has fourteen senior caps so far, “There is no better feeling than pulling on the Green and White jersey knowing you are making your family and friends proud.”

But what of her memories of school?  “I’m sure many people agree with me on this one but when people tell you ‘your school days are the best days of your life’ believe them. I had the best of memories from Dunluce School and also gaining lifelong friends. Everyone involved with the school were so friendly and welcoming and I would recommend Dunluce School to anyone, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

"I was very honoured and privileged to have represented Dunluce School as Deputy Head Girl. Dunluce School played a massive influence in my life to become successful not only in my education but also within my sport."

Lauren finished our interview by offering some advice to our pupils – especially the girls who love sport, “Always be 100% committed and dedicated to your education and sport, continue to work hard and always believe in yourself, your goals and your dreams. Also make sure you are having fun because that’s what’s most important.”