Nov. 9, 2010
When an athlete is forced to confront the possibility that their time in a sport may be over, it's is not an easy admission to make.
UCSB women's soccer player Erica Seidman faced that possibility last spring when she was cut from the team. All of the work she had put in over the years, seemingly, had gone for nothing.
But Seidman is a person who doesn't give up easily. She told herself "it's not over yet," and although the devastating news of being removed from the team brought Seidman to real low point, her drive and passion for soccer kept her going. She knew what she had to do.
"Getting cut by the coach, made me realize he obviously didn't think I could be an asset to the team," she said. "Being cut, I felt that I had to prove myself," she said.
UCSB head coach Paul Stumpf was the one who initially made the decision to cut Seidman. It was also Stumpf who ultimately had the change of heart, giving her the option to return.
"That decision (to cut her) was really difficult for me," recalled Stumpf. "Erica works hard, is fit and has a good work ethic, but I thought that if we relieved her of all the time she had to deal with soccer, maybe she would have more time to make money and not go deeper into debt with student loans."
Clearly the decision wasn't based on Seidman's work ethic. It was based on other circumstances.
"There are misconceptions that all athletes are spoiled, but that's not true," Stumpf said. "Not every athlete receives a full scholarship and Erica certainly didn't."
Seidman, who has played soccer most of her life, was not willing to stop and Stumpf's change of heart gave her another chance.
"In the end I felt it was a mistake because it should have been her choice," he said. "I called her up and told her she would have the opportunity to come back if she wanted to. She called back in 15 minutes to tell me she would be at practice. She's not a quitter."
"When I was given the opportunity again after it had been taken away, I knew I had to take it," Seidman said. "That's why I worked really hard because at that point I had nothing to lose. I'm a resilient person and I don't like to be told no, especially with something that I am very passionate about like soccer."
Thus, during the off-season, she trained extensively on her own. Seidman worked as hard as she could with the hopes of proving that she belonged not only on the team, but in a major role. Through her first three seasons on the Gauchos, she played, but sparingly. In her final season, she wanted that to change.
"When I came (to UCSB) it was a really big deal and I did work really hard for my first three years," Seidman said. "I really wanted to play. There were days when I cried to my mother because I wasn't playing."
Her hard work paid off. Seidman not only returned to the team in 2010, she played in all 19 games, starting 18. She also finished second among all UCSB players in goals scored with four and was one of the team captains.
"It was worth the hard work," she said. "This year I was a captain and a starter. Three years of hard work, getting cut and coming back, that made it even better."
Seidman hopes to continue playing soccer after college. She would like to enter the military, possibly the Air Force, and find out what avenues are available to play soccer there.
"That just speaks volumes about how much she loves playing the game," Stumpf said.
"I've been playing soccer since I was three years old," said the Coto de Caza, Calif., native. "I love the sport."
And it doesn't look like she plans on giving it up any time soon.
1. What are you favorite things to do?
2. What is your favorite class at UCSB?
3. Who is your favorite professor?
4. Who is your role model?
5. Do you have plans for your future other than soccer?
6. What is your favorite thing about UCSB?
7. Do you have any game rituals?
8. If you were compared to any celebrity, who would others say
9. Is there a different feeling playing in front of an audience
of strangers than playing in front of your family and close
10. What do you often eat for breakfast?
11. What are the two best things about waking up in Santa
12. If you could be any animal what would you be?
13. Out of your college experiences, which one do you think or
rate the funniest?
14. As a child what was your favorite cartoon?
15. What is your favorite quote?
16. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it
17. If a movie were made about your life, who would play
18.As an athlete, what would do you enjoy the most?
19. If you could have any superpower what would it be? Why would
you want it?
20. Not including your sport, what is your favorite sport to
watch at UCSB?