Special to the AmNews

With a 5-3 record, Fairleigh Dickinson currently sits atop the women’s soccer standings in the Northeast Conference. The players are motivated and eager for conference play to start next week and are aiming to capture an NEC championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament.

Among the players focused on making that into a reality is junior defender Kayla Adams, who grew up in Ajax, Ontario, Canada. As a kid, Adams played soccer and studied dance. At age 12, her mother suggested she choose one, and with an eye to earning an athletic scholarship to a U.S. university, soccer prevailed.

“I made the choice based on which one I thought would get me further and better my education,” said Adams, a general science major on a premed track. “I put a lot of thought into it because I really loved dance, but I knew soccer would be a better choice for me in the long run.”

The youngest of five children and the only girl, Adams is the first to pursue sports at the college level. It’s challenging to combine soccer with premed courses, but she feels being a student-athlete is actually to her advantage.

“It becomes easier to manage all your time,” she said. “Everything is set in stone—when you practice, when you have games. I already know the time frames I have available to me. I have to make sure I make complete use of it. If I wasn’t an athlete and I had all the extra time, I’d probably waste time more.”

A couple of teammates from her Pickering club team are also on the soccer team. She picked Fairleigh Dickinson because it was close enough to home that her parents could come and visit and see her play. What they will see this autumn is a team coming together and playing with purpose.

“I feel we have grown a lot and we mesh a lot better together,” Adams said. The juniors help ease the freshmen into the fold. “That’s helped us on the field to be completely honest with each other. We know what we can do so that we can grow as players and continue to play well together and do better. … I’m expecting big things from us.”