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High Country Soccer Association


Q&A with Tristin Derrick
November 20, 2019

HCSA: How is school going?
Tristin: School is going great. I am almost done with the semester and will start exams soon at the beginning of December.
HCSA: How close are you to earning your degree?
Tristin: I will walk in May 2020 and graduate in August 2020 with a degree in Business Management.
HCSA: Now that the fall season is over, what preparations/workouts (if any) are you and the team currently doing prior to the spring season?
Tristin: Because I am now a senior, I currently do not have to do any more workouts related to soccer to prepare for the spring. The girls that are continuing to play in the spring and in the next fall season are continuing to participate in weight training 3x a week and practice 2x a week for an hour.
Youth soccer and HCSA...
HCSA: Take me back to your youth soccer days. When did you first start playing?
Tristin: In the beginning stages of soccer, I played parks and recreation when I was really young and I did that for a couple of years. I started with HCSA around 2007 when I was 8 or 9.
HCSA: Was soccer something you immediately knew you loved?
Tristin: I loved every second of soccer growing up. I finished my soccer career at HCSA in 2015-2016 with the same girls I started with in 2007 so that was something special.
HCSA: What was it like to play at HCSA?
Tristin: Playing at HCSA is something I will never forget. Traveling with my family, best friends and teammates every weekend was something I always looked forward to.
HCSA: Do you remember all of your coaches?
Tristin: I do remember all of my coaches and everything they did for our team.
HCSA: Which coaches were most influ
Tristin: I started out with Ben Popoola as my coach. He immediately has us working on our moves, juggling, and learning how to play and read the game. He was
such a great coach and that was where our team built up love for the game and for each other. Soon after, Kiki took over. He was a trooper for dealing with us for so long. Kiki truly believed in our team and he knew what was best for us. He stuck with us through the wins and losses and he helped us with weaknesses on the field. He helped us get better on and off the field and was an absolute motivator.
HCSA: You played on a team with very talented players. Two of your teammates joined you at ASU. One went to Greensboro College. Another went to Shorter University. Another went to Berea College. Am I missing anyone else?
Tristin: We had a lot of talent on our team. I firmly believe we have shaped each other into the players we are and ignited the passion we have for the game. It’s easy to love something when the people around you love it just as much.
HCSA: What was it like playing with t
he same group for so long?
Tristin: Like I said previously, our team had been together from start to finish. Comparing the pictures of us from when we were younger to where we finished our journey gives each of us joy. We made the best memories together and we accomplished so much as a team and as individual people. We were a family, and we played for each other.
HCSA: Do you still keep in touch with a lot of them?
Tristin: YES!! I still keep in touch with a lot of the girls. We all had such a genuine bond and that is something we will never let go of.
HCSA: Are there any specific games that you remember?
Tristin: I remember a lot of personal highs in games, I remember when my best friend broke her shin during a game (it was terrible), I remember how happy (or mad) Kiki would get and the many emotions that would take place. What I remember most were the fun travel memories we all made together and all the fun hotel stays we had together. Those moments I will never forget. It’s all about the culture you create within your team.
HCSA: Who or what inspired you?

Tristin: Honestly, I didn’t have one bad coach at HSCA. Coach Popoola, Kiki, and Ben at times.
HCSA: How did you benefit from that experience?
Tristin: They were all so great and all wanted the best for our team. They believed in every single one of us and made soccer FUN. My parents never missed a game. They were always supporting and cheering me on through it all and all I really focused on was enjoying soccer and enjoying life, and they all made it very easy for me to do.
HCSA: What advice would you give a young soccer player (boy or girl), specifically growing up in Boone and playing for HCSA, to have the best youth soccer experience?
Tristin: HCSA is such a great program. My years there flew by way too quickly and I hope it is something you will never take for granted.  My advice would be to love and enjoy your teammates and coaches. Try to find the best in every situation and play for yourself. Take in the wins and losses and always find room to grow as a player but most importantly as a person.
Preparing for playing in college..
HCSA:  So when did you first th
ink about and first realize playing in college was attainable?
Tristin: When I was younger playing for HSCA, I remember watching and sometimes playing up with my older sister and her team. I remember when the time was coming for her and her teammates to start thinking about college, they were also thinking about w
hether or not they wanted to play at the next level. Watching older members from HCSA sign and agree to play in college made me realize I could do the same thing if I wanted to and I had the passion for it.
HCSA: Did you participate in other soccer offerings like ODP, ID camps, or even just extra training aside from your team’s practices?
Tristin: I participated in many ID camps growing up.
HCSA: What was it like when you first participated in a college camp or something other than HCSA?
Tristin: I found it to be very exciting yet stressful at the same time just because I wasn’t sure what I wanted yet and where I wanted to attend college. The camps definitely helped me figure out what I was and was not looking for.
HCSA: Were you always confident?
Tristin: I was confident as a player at HCSA. I give a lot of credit to my coaches, teammates and parents for that, though, because they were always so uplifting and encouraging.
HCSA: Were there lots of ups and downs?
Tristin: You’re always going to go through ups and downs and at times it will be frustrating as a player no matter the situation. Adversity will strike but it all depends on how you react to it. Everyone needs some constructive criticism in order to keep improving as a player, but overall I did feel confident as a player.
HCSA: When did you start reaching out to
college coaches?
Tristin: I started reaching out around my junior year of high school. Depending on where you are thinking of prolonging your soccer career, you may need to reach
out earlier.
HCSA: How did you contact them?
Tristin: I contacted coaches usually through email and found it helpful to have face-to-face conversations with them at ID camps and such.
HCSA: When did you inform ASU you would accept a spot on their team?
Tristin: I didn’t commit to play soccer at ASU until late into my senior year. This was definitely a stressful time for me because I wanted to make sure what I was doing and where I was going was right.
HCSA: Was Coach Sarah (Strickland) a big part of the process or did you mostly communicate with assistants?
Tristin: Sarah was the lead recruiter but the assistant coaches were just as involved as well!
HCSA: What advice would you give a young soccer player (boy or girl) navigating the recruiting process?
Tristin: My advice would be to be patient and trust the process. The recruiting process can be very hard and stressful at times but once you start to visit schools and try to figure out where you want to play collegiate soccer, you will have all the right feelings. Just have fun with it and enjoy this part of the experience.

Your future...
HCSA: What are your plans after this year?
Tristin: My plan after this year is to graduate and find a job involving the business world.
HCSA: Do you think you will be involved with soccer after your playing days?
Tristin: I’m not sure! I will always enjoy soccer and will always love the game, but right now I am more so focusing on finishing school and finding a job soon.

To see a full list of former HCSA players continuing to play soccer in college, visit our Alumni Page.

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