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Junior Stanberry is vital to A&M-Commerce soccer success

By Jon McDaniel
On October 28, 2010

Since coming to play women's soccer at A&M-Commerce in 2008, junior Evan Stanberry has become a standout defender.

"She is a vital component of our team," sophomore teammate Katelyn Ross said. "She doesn't ever quit, and she is tough to beat as a defender. She might be small, but she's feisty and you won't get past her without a fight."

Stanberry said she was not always this way as a player.

"I've been playing for about 17 years," she said. "In the beginning, when I was a little kid, I would always be the one goofing around and climbing all over the goals. When it became competitive and I joined select, I really was influenced by the many coaches who helped me and coached me along the way. My own competitive nature is the reason I'm the player I am."

After playing and graduating from Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas, Stanberry had to adjust to the college style of play.

"It's different playing in college because you don't have practice throughout the summer and everything, so you have to hold yourself accountable and push yourself so you are ready for the season," Stanberry said. "Soccer is demanding and by being a student athlete you have to manage your schedule a lot. Sometimes it may feel like a job because you're tired or stressed from class, but pushing through it and working hard is the life of a student athlete."

Despite being second on her high school team with eight goals as a senior, Stanberry has fit in perfectly as a defender for the Lions.

"Evan is a crucial part of our defense," junior midfielder Jordan McCarty said. "She is a very consistent player, who always works hard and gives 110 percent. She is one of the best one-on-one defenders in our conference and her hard work pays off. She is an incredibly valued member of our team and a significant contribution."

Stanberry and her teammates have different practice routines depending on whom they play.

"Our practice regiment depends on what type of team we're going up against," she said. "We'll work on our defense depending on if the team likes to play the ball in the air or if they play mostly on the ground. Right before games, we'll put on our warm-up album, which is mainly rap music. By 3:00 p.m. I'm just sitting around wishing the game would start."

Stanberry said this year has stood out because of the amount of first-year players coming in and immediately having to see regular game time.

"This season has been different from the past seasons because we knew it was going to be a learning process and building year," Stanberry said. "We had to have new people really step up because we had a lot of strong leaders and players graduate."

With the Lions' record currently at 7-5-3, and the last three matches resulting in ties, Stanberry said she thinks the team's record is not an accurate representation of their effort.

"I believe we should be seated higher," Stanberry said. "A lot of the scores don't reflect how we played, but we will work through one game at a time with our coach preparing us."

In their time off from practice and games, Stanberry said the team enjoys spending time together off the field.

"We have potluck once a month and some of the players left early," Stanberry said. "We decided to pull a prank on them. We texted them and told them they had to go get their uniforms from the locker room at night, when it's pretty creepy in there. We jumped out and scared them, which was a lot of fun."

After Stanberry finishes playing soccer and graduates, she said she hopes to continue her education in psychology.

"I plan to get my Master's in clinical psychology," Stanberry said. "I enjoy talking to people and helping them work out whatever problem they may have."

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