Natalie Thorne is a first-year social work major from Goshen, with minors in peace, justice and conflict studies and women’s studies. She was one of two goalies for the women’s soccer team this fall and is now transitioning into basketball.Describe your childhood soccer career.
I got started with soccer first with the Goshen Youth Soccer Organization. In second grade, I got started with Goshen Stars, a traveling league. I played with the Goshen Stars up until my fifth grade year. As my teammates entered middle school and started their middle school soccer careers, I continued to play with them. I played with the Bethany team in that fifth grade year and then on through middle and high school.
What brought you to Goshen?
The emphasis on peace and justice, and the PJCS minors – unique opportunities that other schools don’t have. Location was an issue: being so close was a turn-off; also, it seemed too similar to my Mennonite high school experience. But financially and in terms of its social justice emphasis, Goshen made the most sense.
What about Goshen athletics?
I got connected with Fabio first, then Stephanie, the women’s basketball coach. They made the possibility of coming to Goshen more enticing. I was looking for Goshen-type schools in other locations, but realized that Goshen made the most sense.
What was the best part of experience this year as a member of the women’s soccer team?
Certainly at the beginning of the year; it was really exciting to come in and be successful. As we got in to conference play, our record took a bit of a hit. I enjoyed connecting with other team members and building relationships right off the bat.
How do you feel about this year’s season? What are the team’s strengths? Weaknesses?
Overall I felt like the season went well, but certainly I hope that we do better next year, especially in conference play. Ultimately the goal is to get into conference play, which we didn’t do this year. Individually we have a lot of talent, and a lot of smart players who have good footwork. We struggled with different things throughout the year. Sometimes we struggled with scoring and finishing, other times with defensive play and holding teams to a lower score.
What are some of your personal goals for the coming season?
I hope I continue to improve. Because my focus is mostly with the defense, I hope that we continue to improve working together and understanding each other’s tendencies. I’m a freshman coming with a lot of great defenders. I want to pick up my role and be more of an asset to the team, which would entail working hard in the off-season.
What would you like to see from the team next year? Is there anything you would change?
Because we started with the new formation which entailed challenges, there was still some uncertainty. Next season I think it could be successful, since Dale has had success with it in the past. I hope we’re able to work towards using that formation to our benefit. I’m excited for the possibility of working toward becoming more coherent as a team, and figuring out each other’s strengths and weaknesses to maximize potential.
You also play for the women’s basketball team. What do you play? Have you already begun practicing?
I play center, and yes, I’ve started practicing. I started practicing about halfway through the soccer season with the basketball team. Now I’m full time with the basketball team.
What do you look forward to as you enter the basketball season? From yourself? From your team?
I look forward to personally improving and working with my teammates in order to help the team out. As a whole, I have high hopes for us; I think people are really enthusiastic on our team and ready to work hard. Hopefully that will pay off. We had a scrimmage against Concordia last Wednesday and we ended up winning three out of the four quarters. I think as a team we both enjoy each other and the sport, and that lends itself to success and a good season.