A bittersweet farewell for Bulls’ seniors
If there’s one word to describe the end of USF women’s soccer’s regular season, it’s bittersweet.
The Bulls are set to finish on a high note. They are guaranteed a first-round bye in the AAC Tournament, and are expected to make a push for the title, potentially dethroning last year’s champion, Memphis.
But USF’s top three players are all seniors and will be departing the team when the season ends.
Andrea Hauksdottir, Evelyne Viens and Aubrey Megrath have been the bulk of the attacking force since 2016. Four years later, the trio’s journey is coming to an end.
“It’s the end of one part of our journey, but it’s just the start of another,” coach Denise Schilte-Brown said. “We were blessed to play such an amazing part of their lives for the past four years.”
Besides growing older and scoring goals along the way, the trio has developed since their early days as bright-eyed freshmen.
“You come as a freshman, and you’re timid and you stay in your safety bubble,” Schilte-Brown said. “Each year that shield of the bubble starts to drop, and by senior year it’s gone completely … it’s an incredible experience. They let you in every way possible. You see all facets of their personality, their excitement, their fears, their happiness and their sadness … the growth of the relationship is incredible.”
The trio leaving is somewhat bittersweet for Schilte-Brown, but the future is something she is looking forward to.
“I don’t allow myself to wallow in those kind of moments,” Schilte-Brown said. “Instead, I just look to the future and get excited about where they’re going.”
The future is something to be excited about, given the trio’s track record.
Prior to the season, Hauksdottir and Viens were added to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list.
As the season has gone on, all three players have received multiple AAC weekly awards.
Viens has broken several USF and conference records in her career. She’s established herself as the program’s top goal scorer and leads the conference in career goals at 64.
The three have combined for more than 100 goals and 50 assists, a feat that’s taken much more than just time in training.
“We have a good chemistry on the field, but also off the field we hang out and we know everyone’s personality,” Viens said. “When we go on the pitch we know how to communicate, how to react to a situation … you are friends off the field, but at the same time on the field we want to play for each other.”
It’s the off-field connection with each other that bolsters their confidence in games, according to Megrath.
“Fighting for each other is the biggest part,” Megrath said. “When we all start getting tired, we look at each other and pick each other up.”
Constantly spending time with each other off the field certainly has its perks, given the three players’ accolades.
When asked what the three do together to grow the chemistry away from the game, they glanced at each other and laughed in unison.
“We have our moments,” Hauksdottir joked.
Apart from spending every weekend with each other, the three and fellow senior Rebekah Anderson took a road trip to Colorado, Utah and Las Vegas over spring break.
“Seven days together,” Viens said.
Hauksdottir finished the thought.
“Trapped in a room together.”
The three spent almost every waking minute with each other on the road. Despite the trio being friends for some time, they managed to find out new things about each other.
“We learned how to pick each other up … and when to stop talking,” Hauksdottir joked.
There’s no telling where each player will end up. With decorated USF careers almost behind them, professional careers potentially await the trio.
Hauksdottir has previously represented Iceland at the international level and has played with Breidablik UBK in the top tier of Icelandic soccer.
“They’re waiting. They’ll always be there for me,” she said.
Her fellow MAC Hermann watch list member Viens has the potential to have an illustrious career ahead of her.
Schilte-Brown, a longtime proponent of Viens joining the Canadian national team, suggested she could play in the NWSL. Teams like the Washington Spirit, Orlando Pride and Utah Royals have expressed interest in Viens.
“Just keeping playing until my body says, ‘I think it’s over,’” Viens said.
Megrath is undecided on whether she wants to pursue a professional soccer career. Schilte-Brown endorsed her ability as an athlete.
“She makes soccer look easy. She’s so athletic,” Schilte-Brown said. “If she wants to play pro she can, completely up to her. How many people can say that?”
Regardless of where they end up, the trio is confident in the team they are leaving behind.
“The freshmen and sophomores, those girls have so much potential, and they might not be big right now, like you don’t know them, but in two years they will have so much potential,” Viens said.
“I’m really confident in this program.”