Danielle Thomas, a
junior defender on the women's soccer team, talks about the progress that she
and her team have made thus far and what to expect going forward:
Q: Being from Huntington Beach, Pepperdine isn't too far from home. How did you make the decision to stay close by at Pepperdine?
A: I wanted to stay close to home. I looked at schools across the country but I knew I would get homesick. Also, once I visited, I loved the small class sizes, the professors who care and the campus.
Q: When you were a freshman, how did it feel to be a starter?
A: It was a lot of pressure but I was excited to get on the field and have a lot of playing time.
Q: How have you improved in soccer since your freshman year?
A: I am more knowledgeable about the game. When I was a freshman I would sometimes do things without thinking. I have gotten a lot better about reading plays and reacting to situations.
Q: Can you give us some insight into how you prepare before a game?
A: I just try to stay calm. I don't like to wake up early and do a lot of things beforehand. When I get to the locker room the girls give me some energy but overall I like to stay calm.
Q: How important is it for a team to have a solid defense?
A: It's really important. My coach always says, "Defense wins championships," and I agree. If you don't let in a goal, then you can't lose. It's also not just the back line, it's a full team defense which starts with the forwards.
Q: Your team is one of the best in the nation at defense. What do you do well or differently than other teams?
A: We connect with each other really well. I never have to worry about someone doing the wrong thing. Our experiences together have helped me to understand what they're going to do and not to worry that my teammates won't do their part.
Q: What are your personal goals for the season?
A: I want to have a shutout, that's my goal as a defender. I also want to make it further in the NCAA than we did last year, when we made it to the Sweet 16.
Q: How is the team feeling about the season after last year's conference win and the NCAA Tournament?
A: We lost a lot of really good people but I think we have a really good chance of making it really far this year. We have some amazing girls on our team this year and we all connect well together.
Q: Do you have any plans to play professional soccer?
A: No. I know what I want to be, which is a nurse. As much as I love soccer, I don't think that I would want to play it after college.