Hampton's Schaffer goes pro in new women's soccer league
The opportunities to play soccer beyond college for women are not as abundant as in sports such as basketball or tennis. Fortunately, that trend is taking a step in the right direction, as the National Women's Soccer League will begin play in April.
The league consists of eight teams and the talent from the United States, Mexican and Canadian Women's National teams was divided up to give each team a talented foundation. In an effort to fill out the teams with more top-tier talent, a college draft was held (using the same format as the NFL) with seniors who have fulfilled their college eligibility.
With a second-round pick, 15th overall, the Seattle Reign selected William & Mary star and former Hampton Talbot Mallory Schaffer.
“It's very exciting to be a part of this professional league,” Schaffer said. “Each team has seven National team players.”
Schaffer will join Hope Solo and other prominent players on the team.
She still has to work out a contract with the team, and once she signs it, her friends had one request: “They all want me to get Hope's autograph for them.”
Before she takes the field full time, Schaffer will finish the spring semester, which overlaps with the season. Schaffer will finish her course work but make every effort to fly out and play in every weekend game she can prior to graduation.
“The team knew I planned to finish school,” Schaffer said. “The season runs from April to August, but I worked it out with my professors so I can go to Japan for preseason training.”
Schaffer will spend her spring break this year hitting the books, so her two-and-a-half-week absence from school won't affect her class standing.
She said it is hard to remain completely focused on school, knowing what lies ahead, but as she has done so many times before, Schaffer will find a way to reach all her goals.
Schaffer said she was not sure the league would come to fruition, and she planned to make the move to medical school after this semester. But she gladly will put that on hold to keep playing the sport she loves.
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.