The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down for an interview with women's soccer senior Breukelen Woodard. Here's what she had to say.
1. Introduce yourself
My name is Breukelen Woodard. I am a senior — it feels weird to say — at Penn. My major is psychology and my minor is in neuroscience. I’m from Rutland, Vt. [from] a nine-kid family.
2. What are three adjectives you would use to describe yourself?
Competitive. I’m competitive even walking down the street if someone passes me I’m like why did they pass me. I would say disciplined. I work, I do school, I do soccer, and I’m an entrepreneur. I would say I’m really genuine. I’m really upfront with people. I like to see people in their raw form and being real. It’s a big thing in my relationships.
3. How do you envision keeping soccer a part of your life after graduation?
I’m really interested in exploring the professional route whether that’s overseas or in a draft here. It’s been something I’ve always wanted to pursue, like a childhood dream. I think I’m really close to that. I think I have a really good shot making it overseas if I put in the work and have a good season next season or whatever is to come after. I think just staying involved and keep playing. I love soccer and I don’t see it ending for me after graduation.
4. What are three adjectives your teammates/coach would use to describe you?
Competitive, hardworking, and passionate.
5. Are you rooting for anyone specifically in the NBA or MLB playoffs? If so who?
I am not. I don’t really watch baseball or basketball honestly. I’ve been watching a lot of college sports though. I do watch college football and college soccer and I’ve really been loving to watch Clemson.
6. Are you in any particularly enjoyable classes this semester?
Oh my gosh yes. I am in the coolest class ever. It’s EDUC 251. It’s a course called Mindfulness and Human Development. It basically describes a bunch of studies, we review literature, and we read up on the clinical application of mindfulness in different stages of people’s lives. We did adulthood, we’re in adolescence and we’re doing childhood. It’s really interesting me because it’s what I want to pursue as a career. I’m super excited to learn from this professor and have her be a mentor to me.
7. What is your favorite soccer memory of all time?
Last year’s Cornell game. It was insane. We were down, 2-0, going into half and some part of me just knew we weren’t going to lose. There was no point in time where I was like we’re going to lose this game. I was like no, I don’t know what’s happening right now but I know that we’re gonna win. We came out second half guns blazing and we scored a few goals together and did a lot of combo play together. Oh my gosh, scoring — I think I had two goals in that game — goals in that game gave me goosebumps. It reminded me how much I love to play the game and how much I love the team as a whole because celebrations with them are just unbeatable.
8. What’s your favorite Penn memory?
We went to the basketball game this past year. Our whole team went and they were doing this cheering contest and our team just stands up and starts screaming and making a ton of noise. They ended up giving us a free pizza for it. It was so funny they walked up and handed us a pizza and everyone was going crazy. I think my favorite part of Penn is going to support the other teams.
9. No pressure, but what do you envision for life after Penn?
I want to explore playing professionally, but I also look forward to going to graduate school to get my master's degree in clinical child psychology. [My] biggest dream ever would be to be a naturopathic psychiatrist, which is basically someone who prescribes natural medicines to people with psychiatric disorders. More of the mindfulness aspect like meditation, yoga, essential oils. I think that aspect of psychiatry is super interesting and super promising.
10. What does mindfulness look like for you?
I like to use mindfulness in pretty much everything. Being a student athlete, an entrepreneur, a big sister, it gets really overwhelming sometimes and you need to be grounded by something once in a while. I think it’s because I’m an athlete and I know my body so well I like to do body scans. So pretend there’s a bar like a laser going up your body and feeling each part of your body as it scans through. It centers you and makes you aware of what stress you’re holding in your body. For example, if I do a body scan and I notice that my shoulders or my neck is tight I can be more aware of that and then in turn take care of that. One of my favorite quotes is, “As I am more aware of myself I can take better care of myself.” Basically, finding time, even if I’m in the middle of class and I’m feeling stressed, a quick body scan just reading my physical body gets me into a state of awareness.
11. Who is your sports role model if you have one?
My sports role model is and has always been Marta, the Brazilian soccer player. She has just unmatched skill. I’ve always, since I was young, watched her YouTube videos and watched her play games. Brazil has been my favorite soccer team ever since I found out about her. Not to mention the impact she’s had on women’s soccer as a whole just recently with the Brazilian national team getting equal pay. She was a huge part in that, not just in Brazil, but I think globally. She’s been a real pioneer for equality and closing the pay gap, so she’s just overall a role model. I’ll definitely always look up to her.
12. What advice would you give freshman just starting their Penn career?
Make to-do lists or just write down things you need to do. I learned this too late, I think, but one thing I found was that I was super overwhelmed with work—trying to keep it all bottled up in my head and then I’d forget stuff and it’d become super stressful. I ended up writing it down. Writing it down on a piece of paper or on a sticky note or in your planner literally takes it from your brain and puts it on the paper and takes so much weight off of my mental state. Making a to-do list or prioritizing what you have to do.
13. Is there anything you started in quarantine that you can’t believe you hadn’t tried earlier?
I started doing CrossFit because I had access to the gym all during quarantine and I started getting bored with my usual body weight exercises. I really had a goal to build quad strength because I wanted to incorporate a farther outside shot in my game, so I started looking up and researching ways to do that and I found that CrossFit was not only a good way to not only build muscle but also keep your cardio up. I started incorporating a ton of CrossFit into my workouts and it’s been super fun. It’s a super fun way to stay active, build muscle, and get cardio in, and spice up my workout. I hadn’t done CrossFit before and now I can’t imagine not doing it.
14. You’ve achieved a lot on the soccer team, what have these achievements meant to you?
It’s meant a lot. It’s obviously the result of a lot of hard work, not just from myself but my team and my coaches. It’s just shown that I’m in a good spot at the moment. I’m in a good spot to where I can achieve these awards and I’m improving because I didn’t receive these awards last year or the year before. It shows me improvement in myself and my relationships and my team chemistry, I think. It definitely gives me motivation to keep going. I mean second team All-Ivy is really good but it’s not first team All-Ivy, for me. Although I’m grateful, I’m also super motivated to be first team because I know I can be. Those accomplishments are amazing and they’re everything I’ve ever wanted, but now that I’ve got them, I want more, so it’s turned into a motivation to push myself more.
15. What’s something you’re currently optimistic about?
I am really optimistic about our spring season. I’m really optimistic that our team will have the ability to get together whether we have a season or not. I’m optimistic that we’ll get together and we’ll get on the field and we’ll make it happen and we’ll have fun together. I think what’s special about this team is that we’re super competitive, but we’re all best friends, great friends, and we have the best fun together, so when we get together and play soccer we play for each other. We’ve been through ups and downs this past season, but I’m really optimistic that we can rely on each other. We found that out. I’m super excited to get back to business, to see everyone again, and to get back on the field, have some fun, be competitive and get better.