Hi everyone, my name is Elishah Santiago. I am a senior here at Southern Miss, and I am currently studying public relations. On top of a full schedule of homework, working an internship and trying to have a social life, I play soccer for Southern Miss. For four years now, my life has been hectic, but being a student athlete has taught me so much as a friend, daughter, sister, teammate and much more.
Sometimes, I feel like people fail to recognize all of the dedication, hard work and passion that goes into this job. Yes, I say job because while we do not get a monetary salary, we were recruited for our skills and to perform. Just like a normal job, if we are not producing we can get cut. Even with the early morning practices, weight sessions and classes that fill our days, it is an experience that I would not change for the world. I have to give credit where it is due because being optimistic about trying to balance everything is something that has been difficult for me at times.
Without my team, I do not think half of what I have done in the last four years would be possible. Of course, things are not always perfect. We argue at times, but at the end of the day there is absolutely nothing I would not do for them. The long weekends, injuries and mentally draining experiences are not half as hard knowing that I have them right by my side.
This team takes all of that and transfers that energy straight onto the field. As of now, we are currently on a five-game winning streak (hope I don’t jinx us) and have our first conference opener on Sunday. In my three years of playing at Southern Miss, I have yet to a see a team as strong and united as this 2018 fall roster.
We fight until we cannot fight anymore. On and off the field, regardless of if we are playing in the pouring rain or the scorching heat, we are all ready for war. It is not always perfect, and I know that there are going to be more challenges to come, but I know for a fact that there is nothing we cannot overcome as team. Coming to class late while dripping in sweat, early practices, having bruises on your body and being sore, it is all for the love the game, and knowing that you have 24 other people experiencing the same pain and the same sacrifices lets your mind rest easy and reminds you that you are never in this alone.
It is all for the love of the game and representing my school in more than just an academic way. We have something to prove and I cannot wait to take all of the readers of “The Student Printz” on this journey with me.