On a cold and rainy February morning, I drove from Charlotte to Blacksburg to visit Virginia Tech’s women’s soccer program. What I experienced was well worth the trip. Those who might have reservations about the school being far from a major city should absolutely visit; it is a gorgeous and totally self-sustaining campus with all the shops and entertainment you’d need. The dreary February weather did not seem to dampen the spirits of the Hokies at all, in fact, I was blown away by the picturesque beauty of the campus and the lively activity of the students as they made their way to class and activities. Though the campus is on the smaller side, it feels massive and is beautifully situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
As with the campus, I was also extremely impressed by the women’s soccer program. The athletic facilities are impeccable and reflect the level of success these student-athletes achieve on the field and in the classroom. The coaching staff has a great sense of humor and good rapport with one another and their players. This warm and welcoming culture does not diminish the coaches’ expectations or standards in any way; the women are held to high standards which are appropriate for the level at which they train and play.
The women told me they had a challenging season last year, hampered by significant injuries that affected their performance. However, the team I witnessed is strong and determined -- and most certainly prepared for a successful fall season this year. The training session I attended was focused on changing the point of attack and was intense and physical with tough tackling, hard pressing and rapid, skillful play. I was surprised to find out that spring break was only a few days away; the focus and determination of the women during that practice was unwavering, as was their absolute commitment to excellence.
I’m extremely grateful to the coaching staff, who were so generous with their time and who graciously allowed me to interact with the team and visit their beautiful campus. I would highly recommend that parents and players visit Virginia Tech to see this program for themselves; words simply do not do this school justice.
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Chris Bart-Williams is the founder and owner of CBW Soccer Elite. After an extensive career in the English Premier League, Chris now uses his vast soccer knowledge to assist families throughout the college recruiting process and prepare players for the mental and physical challenges of collegiate soccer. You can reach Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.