An athlete who loves the sport she plays, Tess Patton, is in the spotlight for the 2013 soccer season. Patton, a junior, has proven to be an outstanding student-athlete at Mercer. She transferred to Mercer from Auburn University in the Fall of 2012, the beginning of her sophomore year. Although Mercer is not nearly as big of a university, she has learned that success is always possible through hard work and diligence. This has been proven with the success of the Mercer women’s soccer team. Patton interviewed with The Cluster to talk more about her soccer career.
Cluster: Where are you from?
Patton: I am from Gainesville, Ga.
C: When did you start playing soccer?
P: I started playing soccer when I was five years old.
C: Why were you interested in the sport?
P: I was interested in soccer because my brother grew up playing it. I wanted to be just like him.
C: What position do you play?
P: I play forward, but I will be playing center back this season.
C: Do you have a favorite soccer team or player that you look up to?
P: My inspiration is Mia Hamm. She doesn’t play anymore, but I still look up to her.
C: In your soccer career, what has been your favorite memory?
P: My favorite memory is last year when the women’s team won the semifinals in the Atlantic Sun Tournament. After winning that game, the team was able to play FGCU again in the finals.
C: Your worst?
P: My worst memory is losing the final game in double overtime.
C: What would be your perfect pre-game meal?
P: My perfect pre-game meal is a Turkey Bacon Bravo with mac and cheese from Panera Bread.
C: What do you do for each game to prepare yourself mentally and physically?
P: To prepare myself physically, I hydrate a lot, especially with Pedialyte, and eat a good pasta meal the night before. Mentally, I go over in my head what I need to do as a player to help my team during the game and study the scouting report. The pre-game songs on my iPod get me focused and pumped up before every game as well.
C: Will soccer always be a part of your life?
P: Soccer will always be a part of my life. I have played it since I was very young and the sport has brought me closer to so many new people. Soccer has made me the person I am today.
C: What are your expectations for the season this year?
P: I have very high expectations of the team and myself this season. Our team has more depth and talent with the addition of eight new players this year.
C: How would you say the team is doing so far?
P: We are doing really well so far. We are already playing four SEC teams back-to-back on weekends. A great win against [The Univer- sity of] Alabama showed us that we can work hard as a team and that any team out there is beatable.
Patton wants to win it all for the last time, since this is the team’s last year in the Atlantic Sun Conference. She thinks that her height can be a good asset for the team. She says, “Since I’m 5’10’’, I am able to win headers and be a presence in the back line for our team. When I play forward, I am best at getting down to the end line and crossing the ball in.” The soccer team has proven themselves against the higher level teams. The Bears’ next competition will be at Bear Field against Charleston Southern University on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7:00 p.m.