Atkinson Exemplifies Women’s Soccer’s Standard

Ryan Jones, Sports Editor

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If you follow a Central Connecticut women’s soccer game closely, you just might be able to spot Tess Atkinson. That’s not to say the junior forward doesn’t get much playing time, on the contrary she’s been a integral part of the Blue Devils’ squad this year. Atkinson can be easily missed by the untrained eye because she’s never in the same spot for long. Constantly darting up and down the field, Atkinson shuts down and aggravates opposing players with her hustle better than anyone on the pitch.

It comes as no surprise that Atkinson finds ease in out-hustling the other players on the pitch, she’s got some motivation for it. At all of her games on CCSU’s Soccer Field, she’s got a big crowd cheering behind her, but also has some extra support from home.

Coming out of Berlin, Connecticut, Atkinson explained how “my parents come, my friends come, so the little mix of both on top of all the support we get here, that’s the best part of playing here at Central.”

She’s got family in the stands, but the most important thing to Atkinson is her family on the field. As a junior, she finds having a close bond off the field with her teammates is the most beneficial aspect to their play on it, especially for the younger players.

“We always do things like go out to get ice cream together, just always hanging out as a team,” Atkinson explains. “That’s so important when you’re on the field, that team chemistry. Taking those young ones under our wings, making them feel welcome is another very important part of our responsibility.”

But bonding isn’t the only way Atkinson is teaching the young Blue Devils. While it doesn’t always show up in the scoresheet, the midfielder’s unwavering effort is something she looks to pass on to her teammates.

With our team, one of our main lessons that we try to show each other is hard work,” Atkinson said. “We show hard work, dedication and practice on the field and in the classroom. That’s such an important virtue for us upperclassmen to teach the younger players coming in. Showing it on the field is the most important thing you can do. You give 110% when you come off you, feel better about yourself and the work of your team.”

The rewards from Atkinson’s hard work and dedication are exemplified in the Blue Devils’ success on the field, with no better example than last season. Losing only two games throughout the year, CCSU steamrolled their competition en route to the program’s ninth Northeast Conference Championship.

She already has a NEC Championship under her belt, but the junior is as hungry as ever for more. On her goals for the season, Atkinson details the obvious while preaching the essentials.

Obviously we want another ring, but it doesn’t come without the hard work that we’re talking about,” Atkinson said. “I think there’s still things we need to work on, but what team couldn’t improve? If we just keep the hard work and determination, we can win it again this year.”

For the Connecticut native and the rest of the Blue Devils alike, the chance to put that hard work to the test is now. With only one game remaining before the ever-important conference play, the Blue Devils will soon be getting another shot at a perfect  NEC season.