It's National Girls & Women in Sports Day! Since its inception in 1987, National Girls & Women in Sports Day has offered an opportunity to recognize the influence of sports participation for girls, acknowledge the accomplishments of female athletes, and honor the progress and continuing struggle for equality for women in sports. Mercy recognizes the benefits and skills that athletic participation brings to our students including confidence, resilience, leadership, and collaboration.
Sara Bermudez '18, a star soccer player at Mercy, is now a sophomore and starting defensive midfielder at Brown University. She recently finished her 2nd season with the Bears, where they had a historic run in the women's soccer program (read more here). She talked with us about the transition to collegiate-level athletics and the impact soccer has had on her life.
Sara Bermudez '18 pictured holding the Ivy League trophy they won this year!
How was last year's transition to college and collegiate-level soccer? Was it as you'd anticipated?
It was an exciting experience, one that I had been anticipating since I was a sophomore in high school. However, it was much more difficult than I expected. Adapting to collegiate-level soccer took patience and discipline. I had to trust my coaches, become more mentally tough, and accept the physical demands. I realized my first year was going to be more about growth and gaining experience than accomplishments. As for transitioning into the academics and the social scene of Brown I absolutely loved it. I loved the freedom of choosing my classes and the excitement of meeting individuals from all over the country and world. I still stop to take it all in sometimes when I am walking around campus.
Now in your 2nd year, do you feel that you've found your stride in balancing sports and academics?
Absolutely. I have found my major and the realm of what I want to study. School is much more enjoyable now because I got the hang of what I need to succeed, like my optimal study spot and time management. I feel more confident in reaching out for help as well from professors, teaching assistants, and deans. I earned a starting spot as a defensive midfielder this year and was able to lead my team to the second round of the NCAAs. Compared to my first year, I was much more capable of balancing school and sports, mainly because I had a year of experience under my belt and I knew what to expect and how to better take care of myself.
What are the top 3 things you love about playing at the collegiate level?
- I love representing my university. I am proud to attend Brown. It is so much deeper than just myself. I am there for my family and every teacher, friend, mentor, and teammate who helped me get here. When I put my jersey on I am reminded of why I put myself through adversity in collegiate-level sports, which makes success that much more rewarding.
- Pregame nerves. I have learned to love the nerves. Before every game, I am very serious and zoned in. I keep headphones in and my head down because it helps me process the anxiety I get before games. Once I get outside for warm-up and touch a soccer ball I am brought back down to reality. The anxiety then becomes adrenaline and I am ready.
- It has made me stronger in every aspect of my life. I have pushed myself in ways I never imagined. Through injuries, through failures, in fitness tests, my body always amazes me with what it can handle - with what I can handle. As expectations increase, so do the demands. But going through it once and coming out okay, in the end, makes the next time easier. I have learned that mentality is so important. What I accomplish in sports and the ways I get stronger reflects in everything else I do.
How did Mercy prepare you for the challenges and rewards of being an athlete at an Ivy League school?
What I put in at Mercy I got out. The same holds true with where I am now. The teachers I was fortunate to have at Mercy have had a strong influence in shaping me into the person I am today. I owe it to their guidance for my ability to take advantage of and keep up with being at an Ivy League School. Mercy has prepared me to maintain a level head through the highs and lows of being an athlete at an Ivy League School. While Mercy instilled in me the value of being independent, it reinforced lifting others as I climb and staying in touch with where my journey began. It is why I enjoy coming back and talking about my experiences with current Mercy students.