Carolyn Blank is living her dream.
The West Virginia University graduate student, from Tom’s River, N.J., was recruited by the Women’s Professional Soccer league to play for the Saint Louis Athletica.
“I have always set goals for myself and since I was young this was one of them, but I never thought I would actually get here. It is a dream come true. With some hard work it was possible,” said Blank, who is a midfielder.
Blank, a special education major, moved to Saint Louis to begin the season in March, but with help from her professors was able to complete her course load for the spring semester and stay on track. She will return to Morgantown in September to complete her final year in the education program.
Appearing in 23 games during her senior season at WVU, Blank played four years on WVU’s women’s soccer team.
In 2009, she was the Mountaineers all-time leader in matches started and played with 92. She was named a second team NSCAA All-American for 2008 and 2009. Blank was a two-time team captain of the Mountaineers, was named a 2009 all-BIG EAST first-team selection and NSCAA First-Team All-Northeast Region selection.
Starting as a young girl, Blank has always been interested in sports.
She was active in basketball, softball and soccer. Over the years as her passion for soccer grew, she gradually decided to give up the other sports and focus solely on the one.
“I have learned so much about myself though soccer. It taught me my work ethic, and it is where I grew as a hard worker,” she said.
She also likes the team environment.
“I really enjoy being around other people that have the same desire and passion as me. We have our ups and downs together,” she said. “Whatever you are going through, chances are someone around you is going through the same thing or has before.”
Although Blank’s skills have a lot to do with her success, she also attributes a lot of it to her time as a Mountaineer.
“I love West Virginia and the school so much. This is where I learned that I might not always be the best, but no matter what I am going to work hard. That work ethic gets me further,” she said. “And, WVU is such a family environment. The coaches and players are so close.”
When Blank first arrived in Saint Louis, and met her fellow teammates, she was overwhelmed with intimidation.
“I was around all these players who played for their countries’ national teams and won gold medals. It was scary,” she said.
But as she practiced with her teammates and got to know them, she discovered that they all shared the same attitude.
“They are people too, and they make mistakes,” she said. “I have learned that the only thing I can control is how hard I am working. If I am continuously giving it my all and focusing on how hard I am working, then I am doing well.”
Her three months on the team has raised her confidence level and has helped her to grow tremendously as a player, she said.
But, as much as her dream lives in soccer – her passion lies in her desire to teach children.
“When I was younger, I had to work hard and continuously study. I wasn’t one of those people whose grades came easy. I always looked to my teachers for support, and I want to be that person for other people – a person who can help them learn more about themselves,” she said, adding, “I enjoy when the light bulb goes off.”
She aims to teach at an elementary school, where she might also be able to coach soccer.
By Colleen DeHart
WVU News and Information
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(Editor’s Note: The Saint Louis Athletica was recently disbanded, and Carolyn Blank now plays for the Atlanta Beat. To view her profile, visit http://www.womensprosoccer.com/atlanta/players/bios/carolyn-blank )