Home schoolin’


John Freitag

WSU Defender Susie White battles a Stanford defender during a home game against the Cardinal, Sunday, Nov. 3.

Trevor Williams Evergreen Soccer reporter

When redshirt freshman defender Susie White laces her cleats and sets foot on the soccer pitch, she intends to teach the opposing team’s offense a lesson.

However, White’s intent to school Pac-12 forwards goes beyond helping the Cougars’ dominant defense collect shutout after shutout. It extends into the actual classroom.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” White said. “In my senior year (of high school) I did a lot of volunteering in elementary schools. I’ve done a little bit here, but not as much as I want to. I’m hoping to do more.”

White said she identifies herself as the type of person that loves giving back to others and being a part of a community.

“I had a teacher back in elementary school that really changed my attitude,” she said. “I’ve always had respect for teachers and what they do, and this teacher changed that attitude for me and made me want to be one.”

Additionally, White wants to be involved in special education. She said she didn’t notice her attraction to that program until recently.

“I’ve realized recently that my mom was also a teacher, and I’m kind of following in her footsteps unintentionally, but it’s just funny how it works like that,” White said.

White’s mom, no longer a teacher in Colorado, now works with White’s soccer club back home. Her mom is used to being committed to soccer, already having one daughter go through the University of Colorado soccer club. As a byproduct, White is no stranger to soccer.

“I’ve been really involved in soccer my whole life,” she said.

Watching an older sister go through the ranks of college soccer also helped influenced WSU’s young defender.

“I got to learn what (college soccer) was like because I had no idea,” White said. “She just really supported me, and she’s been a good role model for me.”

Most of White’s soccer career to this point has been a learning experience. Redshirting for WSU last season was tough for White, who had an itch to play. Now she reaps the benefits, she said.

“It’s really helped me. It gave me a chance to adjust and get to know how everything works with the schedule and the players,” she said. “It really got me more comfortable because I knew what was expected, what I was capable of and what my teammates were capable of.”

White saw a similar progression take place in the classroom back in Colorado as she gained insight into the lives of the students at the elementary school she volunteered at.

“I really got to connect with the kids and get to know them on a very personal level,” White said. “It helped me understand what it’s like and how difficult and challenging it can to be a teacher, but how rewarding it is also.”

White said she learned the strengths of her students and also saw the flaws in their thinking from time to time. But in the end, moments in the classroom and moments on the soccer field are solidified by experiences. Sometimes even the smallest stories foster interesting new perspectives, she said.

“I was grading homework, and there was also a girl who responded to, ‘what would you do for your friend if you felt like they needed you?”’ White said. “She would say, ‘I would share my sandwich with them and that would make them feel better’. So, it’s just funny – the things that they value – compared to what we think about now.”

White also noted that teaching and dealing with goofy personalities isn’t just for elementary school teachers. Sometimes even NCAA soccer coaches like WSU soccer Head Coach Keidane McAlpine assume the role of a teacher. White said she appreciates the effort he and his coaching staff put in.

“I try not to be a nuisance when they’re letting me know what to do and just try to take everything they say very seriously and show respect for them on and off the field,” she said.

When it comes down to it, White said she centers her game and future on learning, family and experience.

“My family is important to me and my sisters are a big part of my life,” White said. “I’ve always looked up to them and tried to follow in their footsteps. Now being away from home, I realize how important family is to me. It sounds cliché, but it’s true.”

However, White can rest easy knowing that even when she doesn’t have her Highlands Ranch, Colo., family, she has her WSU soccer family.

“It’s the mentality,” White said. “We feel confident in each other, and we’ve had experience. I mean, I’ve had the least amount of experience, but I still feel like we all support each other, and it’s pretty unreal.”