Written by Cheyanne Mumphrey
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona University women's soccer player and starting senior midfielder Cierra Gamble gives NAU Athletics insight on how important soccer has been in her life and what it is like to be on the field. Gamble recorded four goals and three assists during last year's 2014 championship season and attempted 30 shots with 14 on goal.
Since the age of four, Gamble has had an interest in soccer. Now, 17 years later, she proudly wears and competes in blue and gold. Gamble grew up watching the U.S. Women's National Team make history and win and break records, which has only ignited her passion to play at the Division I level. The difference between then and her current collegiate career is the level of commitment and professionalism.
"Being a collegiate athlete is like a job," Gamble explained. "It is fun but there is more of an emphasis on performance than there was in high school."
Playing for NAU holds an incredible feeling of excitement for Gamble. In her mind, it is hard to replace the feelings that come with playing in front of hundreds of people.
"It makes you realize that what you are doing is important and you play for NAU, your fans and your teammates," Gamble described.
Last year during the Big Sky Conference championship, Gamble reflected on how special the weekend was for not only the team, but the NAU community as well.
"We worked hard and dug deep for each other and everyone supporting us," she said.
This was one of the few games Gamble admits she was nervous in.
There are many advantages to being an athlete at NAU beside playing in games. Gamble believes the moment you step into NAU Athletics, you have a "built-in family," one that is supportive and strives to make you a successful student-athlete.
The lessons in time management, too, is something Gamble has gained from being a student-athlete.
"The coaches and staff prepare you for success not only on campus, but in the real world," Gamble said.
Gamble enjoys being a student-athlete here at NAU and loves the game. However, she pinpointed one dimension of soccer she wishes she could change.
"If I could change one rule in the game of soccer, it would be to not wear shin guards" she said. "They often mess up my touch."
Stay tuned for Gamble and the NAU women's soccer team this weekend kickin' it at Lumberjack Stadium on Friday at 8 p.m. against Alabama State and Sunday at 11 a.m. against Oakland University.