Penn women’s soccer is just three games into its 2018 season, but sophomore transfer Breukelen Woodard is already making her mark on the program.
The midfielder, who played her freshman year at South Carolina, already has a goal, an assist, and 239 minutes of playing time under her belt with the Quakers.
Clearly, Woodard is adjusting well to both personal life and soccer in Philadelphia.
“Overall, it’s been a great experience. This has been my dream school since high school, and I wasn’t able to get in to Penn the first time around," Woodard said. "So I took a year at South Carolina and then Coach Nicole [Van Dyke] presented me with another opportunity that I knew I had to take right away.
"Everyone has been really sweet to me on the team. Teammates are introducing me to their friends and now I feel like I know plenty of people on campus.”
Woodard’s reason for transferring was partially about the role she wanted to play as a leader on the pitch. At Penn, she has quickly found that age does not hinder her ability to lead.
“That’s one of the things I’ve loved so far about being here. I feel like I’m more valued here and I got to come in as a leader," Woodard said. "At South Carolina, I was pushed to the bottom of the totem pole. Here, anyone can be a leader. It just depends on whether you are able to step up or not."
From an academic standpoint, Woodard could not resist the Ivy League allure.
“The unbeatable balance between academics and D-I soccer is what made Penn so attractive," she said. "You don’t find this very often. The opportunity to study at an Ivy League school while playing the highest level of soccer is just unmatched.”
Three games into this season, the Quakers are 2-1. Despite the tight loss to No. 13 North Carolina State, the team is showing promise, both on offense and in the back line.
“We’re only a couple games in, but the chemistry we already have is apparent," Woodard said. "We almost have as many goals as we had last year, so it’s clear that the team this year has that connection on the field.”
Woodard believes that this early success could be indicative of the rest of the season if the team continues to learn from every game and practice. She and the rest of the squad have their sights set on a high mark.
“I see us going for an Ivy League championship," Woodard said.
"Everyone is going to say that, but I really see it in this team. We learned a lot from the NC State game, and tough games like that are going to help us to keep growing throughout the season.”
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