Player Spotlight: Washida Blackman

Sophomore Washida Blackman has been a crucial offensive threat this season for the Mercer women’s soccer team. With one year of experience under her belt, she looks to help lead the team to an A-SUN Championship win, something that the Bears were just short of last season. She’s tallied up one goal, two assists, four points, and 18 total shots so far this season, but she admitted that the numbers alone aren’t going to be what brings the team success. She sat down with the Cluster and talked more about her soccer career.

C: Where were you born? 
B: I was born in Barbados, but my family immigrated to the United States when I was two years old.
C: Where did you grow up?
B: I grew up in Snellville, Georgia.
C: How old were you when you started playing sports?
B: I was five years old when I started playing sports. Soccer was the first sport I played.
C: Did you play any other sports when you were younger?
B: I played softball and basketball, but quit to focus on soccer.
C: You saw the field a lot last year as a freshman playing in all 20 games. What was the transition like from high school to Division I?
B: The transition to Division I was a little rough at first because collegiate soccer is played at a faster pace than club soccer or high school. But, after a lot of practices and games, you adjust to it.
C: With last year being your first year, what were some things that you might have struggled with that you worked to improve on going into this season? And what exactly did you do to improve?
B: Last year, I would say I struggled with the physicality of opposing teams, as well as having the full confidence to take players on 1 vs. 1. So, before the season started, I ran more, lifted weights, and worked with the ball. One of my teammates, Stephanie Giangiuli, would also have me practice 1 vs. 1’s against her.
C: How would you describe yourself as a player?
B: I would describe myself as a player who will work hard for her teammates no matter what.
C: What is your greatest memory in soccer?
B: My greatest memory in soccer would have to be from when I was a young kid and my team had been in a tournament, where every game was hard, but we fought and ended up winning the tournament. That is my favorite memory because it was the first time I realized how much I love the game.
C: And the worst?
B: My worst memory would be the senior playoff game for my high school. My high school team was very close and had high expectations of winning the state championship. But, that game day, I had pneumonia and had to standby on the sideline as my team lost.
C: So far you guys have had a really successful season! Describe the chemistry that you have with your teammates that lead to these wins. 
B: The chemistry I have with my teammates is absolutely amazing both on and off the field. I know that if I ever needed someone, every single person would be there. That translates onto the field. Everyone’s very supportive and we all work hard for each other.
C: Once you’ve graduated and are done playing Division I soccer, do you still see yourself being involved with soccer or sports in any way?
B: I’m going to be honest, I have no post graduation plans yet. I hope to continue playing soccer, even if it is just for fun.
C: To wrap it up, how do you expect the team to finish this season?
B: Our coach often tells us that how we finish in postseason is up to us; it’s our destiny. I know that if we maintain our team chemistry, as our desire to compete and win, we will win the A-SUN championship.

Despite a few tough losses early on, the Bears have proven that with hard work, the wins will come. This past weekend, the Bears hosted South Carolina Upstate and East Tennessee State only to rack up two more wins, putting them at 8-3-2 this season. With only six games left, Blackman and her teammates know that it is crunch time and they must continue to compete to get a good seed in the A-SUN tournament. Come support their last two home games this season on Friday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 14.