The Academic All American College Soccer Player of the Year

December 17, 2009
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As the ominous storm clouds set in on our canoeing trip, the journey turned from a pleasant environment to a life threatening situation in an instant. Lightning crashed into the surrounding earth and thunder created deafening rumbles that sent chills up my spine. The torrential downpour was so excessive that it appeared as if the rainstorm and the river had formed one single treacherous body of water. From view of my canoe, I could see the fearless leader, Beth Reed, battling the vicious current. Working vigorously, she managed to keep her kayak on course. Terror struck my eyes as I witnessed the giant sycamore slipping down the border of the river, right into the path of Beth. At this point, she was faced with a decision. Either she could rapidly paddle to pass it before it plunged into the water, potentially crushing her on its way, or she could attempt to avoid it. By assessing the situation, she was able to recognize that there was a slim chance of taking another course, due to the weather. Therefore, she used all of her force to propel her vessel past the descending tree. Seconds after she escaped its clutches, the sycamore plummeted into the river. Beth’s quick thinking helped her avoid this catastrophe like Odysseus chose to quickly flee from the Laestrygonians. This account of events is just one of the many outstanding feats that go to show how Beth Reed is an exceptional leader that makes courageous, constructive decisions to further improve the position she is in.

Ever since I was a child, this five foot seven inch, exceedingly athletic, red-headed girl has been in my life. Our mothers have been close friends since their sandbox days; therefore, I spent time with her at family get-togethers around the holidays. She always seemed to be so likable and simply a truly outstanding example in my life. From playing on the slip-n-slide to making s’mores in the microwave while being contained in an RV due to the rain at Holiday World, we have shared some wild memories. Today, she holds the honor of being a senior at the Annapolis Naval Academy. Growing up with her as an excellent role model, has contributed in shaping the person I am today.

Time after time, Beth proved that she was able to capitalize on situations because of the excellent decisions she has made. In high school, she was a three sport athlete, playing soccer, basketball, and softball. Transitioning into college, she was focused on choosing the right school for her, rather than just athletics. “I knew I wanted to study engineering and be able to play Division I sports. I was set on picking the right school for me, not just a successful sports program.” She found her perfect fit at Navy. The more she learned about it, the more it seemed she would enjoy it. The Naval Academy offered her academics, soccer, and she was a walk-on on the basketball team. Among her other choices, Beth is forced to wisely decide how she must spend her time. She has so many responsibilities thrown at her that it is unbelievable that she can manage it so well and be so successful at the same time.

This year, Beth received the amazing honor of being selected captain of her college soccer team by her teammates. In The Odyssey, Odysseus was in command of a crew also, and they both functioned as superior leaders (except Beth did not end up leading her crew to death). Throughout the season, she demonstrated leadership both on and off the field. In one situation on the field, she had to lead her team, who was up 1-0, through defending the opposition’s relentless attack in brutal one hundred degree heat. Even under such extreme circumstances, Beth exercised leadership through communication with her team. Her coach Carin Gabarra said, “Her leadership off the field has been key to our focus and mental preparation.” The captain of the team is also responsible to enforce what the coach says. Near the end of the season, a well liked team member caused some trouble, so she was suspended for the rest of the season. Beth had to explain to her teammates as to why this punishment was necessary. They did not understand how disciplining her now will prevent her from making worse mistakes later, so Beth helped them through the process of grasping the state of affairs. She served as an exceptional captain under many different situations.
Through all my experiences with her, all I can deduce is that she is a genuinely respectable person. She seems to be everything anyone strives to be, yet she still manages to keep her head on straight. Beth always has something positive to say about the people she is surrounded by, and she shows her acts of modesty by contributing her success to others. After getting nominated captain by her teammates, she says, “I was surprised, excited, and humbled- It’s an honor, and any of my classmates would do a great job, and I am lucky to get the chance to lead such a great group.” Unlike Odysseus, she is not boastful about her accomplishments, rather complimentary of her peers. By demonstrating humbleness on a daily basis, she becomes very favorable amongst her teammates.

Being a talented goalkeeper with a talented goalkeeper a year ahead of her, Beth did not see very many minutes her first three years on the Navy women’s soccer team. Nevertheless, this predicament did not, by any means, keep her from always giving it her one hundred and ten percent. “I recognized that my team was successful, and in the big picture, that’s all that matters…Also, I knew my chance would come.” Beth was faithful and committed to her team, like Penelope was to Odysseus. Spending three years full of hard work and dedication prepared her for her leadership role in her senior year, where effort finally paid off. It is utterly mind-boggling that she was the College Soccer 360 Primetime National Performer of the Week, a three-time Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week, on the First-Team All-Patriot League, the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year, on ESPN First-Team Academic All-District and All-America, and last, but certainly not least, she was the ESPN Women’s Soccer Academic All-American of the Year. These awards are remarkable, as Beth is second in her class and majoring in mechanical engineering at Navy. This goes to show how she not only worked hard as an athlete, but achieved great accomplishments from an academic standpoint, as well.

Beth Reed is a truly inspiring figure. Getting accepted into the Naval Academy is a rare occurrence. Equally rare, Beth is a college athlete who excels in both soccer and basketball, and maintains academic excellence. When asked what her soccer team would say about why they picked her as the team captain, Beth said, “They knew I would always put the team before myself. They saw that I was still working hard, even after sitting the bench for the better part of three years and not complaining. Sometimes people need that physical example of hard work to be motivated themselves, and they knew they could count on me to provide that. I know I wasn’t the perfect leader, but my teammates know that it was never because of a lack of effort.” Hard work, dedication, and commitment to team and country are choices Beth makes everyday. The awards and recognition Beth has received this year honor her success. However, it is the choices she makes that distinguish Beth Reed as a hero.





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