After playing for and winning the U-18 USYSA National Championship this summer with her club team, the FC Pennsylvania Strikers, freshman defender Mel Insley arrived at Elon University riding her very own wave of success.
“(Winning the championship) was amazing,” Insley said. “I don’t even think I can think of a word to describe it. We had so much fun. There was a lot of anticipation going in, so coming off the result we did was just like icing on top of the cake.”
After considering a bunch of “random” schools to play college soccer, Insley said she selected Elon out of the crowd not only because of the beauty of the school, but also the feeling of being home.
“I looked at Temple. I looked at South Carolina. I looked at Dartmouth, and I looked at American,” Insley said. “But the second I stepped on campus here, it was gorgeous and that obviously helped. Then meeting the coaches and the team, I just felt at home and I felt like it was the perfect fit."
To go with the feeling of being at home, Insley said she also values the family atmosphere that not only the Elon community displays, but the team as well. It’s something she said she’s excited most about her time on the soccer team at Elon.
“I know that I’m being taken care of here, and I know that everyone is looking out for me,” Insley said. “I love that aspect.”
Now at Elon, Insley said she knows college soccer is different than high school. More demanding workouts and more responsibility are the advantages to playing college soccer.
“It’s different, it’s a lot different,” Insley said. “The coaches expect more out of you. It’s a lot more work, but I think the whole challenge aspect of pushing yourself to do better is a big part of it and I think that’s a really good and really big part of playing in college.”
Insley is one of seven freshmen coming in this season that head women’s soccer coach Chris Neal expects to make an impact for the Phoenix.
“We project Mel to play as long as she can maintain her fitness and all that good stuff,” he said.