When Kelsey Gilbert ‘21 tore her ACL, bringing her junior year soccer season at Providence College to an abrupt halt, she knew that her college career and, more importantly, her confidence as a player needed a pick me up. The Fairfield University women’s soccer program extended Gilbert a helping hand, offering her the position of redshirt junior in 2019.
Hailing from Hanson, Mass., Gilbert elected to play soccer at Providence College, but with one major injury she realized that Fairfield was the best option for her.
“I transferred from Providence to Fairfield in the middle of my junior year, and I’ve loved Fairfield ever since,” Gilbert said.
The transfer process for her was similar to that of many transfer students–it was far from easy.
“I only had four weeks of that winter break to figure out which school I was going to play at,” Gilbert said.
On top of worrying about her personal life, as well as academic requirements, Gilbert found herself fielding calls from coaches and filling out paperwork during that time. Luckily though, she had the support of the Fairfield coaching staff on her side, guiding her through the lengthy transfer process.
Gilbert’s life outside of soccer is filled with opportunities to learn and earn. She designs her class schedule strategically so that she can get her classes done before her afternoon practice sessions.
“On days we have games, like Wednesdays, I usually try to avoid any classes at all, because I have to get in the zone for gameday,” she shared.
Much like many other seniors at Fairfield, and within the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Gilbert is upset that the season is unable to continue in the fall, like previously planned.
“It’s been really difficult to keep up with the teams that are able to practice and have contact,” Gilbert said. “At the same time, though, I have to respect their decision and concern with people’s health, since obviously COVID-19 is a really big issue.”
In the COVID-19 climate at Fairfield U, practices look a little different than before, like Gilbert mentioned. The team now splits up into three groups of five to ten players, and performs technical work in one-hour practice slots.
“It is mainly focused on footwork, and lots of fitness and running,” Gilbert said.
In lieu of practicing with the entire team, Gilbert and the team have been doing team Zoom calls mostly every day to ensure that players are creating relationships outside of soccer.
“We actually had some Zoom calls where our coach would have alumni come on, and we would get to talk to them about when they played and their careers, so I think that was a great thing we did as a team,” Gilbert said.
Aside from playing in games and practices though, players like Gilbert must pay attention to their studies as well; after all, it is right there in the title student-athlete. Gilbert is a biology major and plans to attend nursing school after graduating.
She currently works as a patient care assistant at a cancer center in Boston, which is currently leading her on a track to become a nurse-practitioner in the future. With this experience, she hopes that she will land a position at a nursing school so that she can continue learning about human biology and caring for people.
Gilbert’s situation as a redshirt player is an extremely interesting one, as she has created long lasting relationships at both Providence and Fairfield.
Through her experiences at both of these schools, she has been able to compete in the Big East and the MAAC, as well as further her soccer skills, in terms of versatility.
This upcoming season is obviously going to be very bittersweet for many players like Gilbert, who only have one more chance to make a splash in their respective divisions and take home a ring.
Hopefully Gilbert and her teammates will be able to represent Stag Country in that victorious way before they go their separate ways.