Phoebe Sterba is sure glad she checks her LinkedIn messages.
At the beginning of 2020, the former Penn guard was preparing for her graduation and the completion of her illustrious basketball career as a Quaker.
Through her four years, Sterba helped lead her team to two Ivy League titles and vied fiercely for championships despite not capturing the final prize.
After two years as a solid contributor off the bench, she came into her own as a junior and senior, starting 53 of 58 games before her last season was cut short. The sharpshooter finished her career with 186 three-pointers, good for second-best in program history.
Like most graduating seniors at the time, Sterba was concerned with celebrating her final season and finding a job. By early May, Sterba received a job offer in Chicago and was extremely grateful to have her plans worked out.
But about a month later, Sterba received a LinkedIn message from Trinity College Dublin with a sports scholarship offer. Wanting to keep her options open during the uncertainty of the pandemic, Sterba responded on LinkedIn and did diligent research on her options.
Sterba reached out to friend and former teammate, Ashley Russell, who graduated in 2019 and had played professionally in Ireland the past year. Sterba also recalled the aunt of her childhood friend who constantly talked about the great time she had playing in Dublin.
“I think [the offer] really caught me at the right moment because I previously had not been thinking about [playing in Ireland], even though I knew two people who had done this and talked to me about it,” said Sterba, “I really lucked out. I’m just grateful that they reached out.”
The main draws for this offer were the unique opportunity to play abroad with Meteors Basketball Club and Trinity’s renowned academics. Sterba officially decided to get her master’s degree at Trinity while playing on a one-year contract with the team, with the option of returning for future seasons if both sides agree.
“Coach McLaughlin and everyone has been extremely supportive while I was talking to the coaches, and I definitely wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t at Penn,” said Sterba.
Far more excited and enthusiastic than nervous or anxious about her upcoming travels, Sterba admits she is concerned about whether her family will be able to see her play, whether in person or via livestream.
“My dad is going to have to become very technologically advanced, and he is the least technologically advanced person I have ever met in my life, so it’ll be funny,” said Sterba.
Sterba will leave for Dublin around Aug. 24th, and her school year and season will begin in those couple weeks following.