Former Texas Tech midfielder Hayley Haagsma sees blue skies after National Women’s Soccer League College Draft.
At the age of 4, Hayley Haagsma’s parents introduced her to multiple sports to see what she would like best, and that is when her passion for soccer began.
“Growing up I would play in other sports more for recreation,” Haagsma said, “but soccer was always a passion of mine and something I had a natural talent for, and I think that’s why I stuck with it all these years.”
Haagsma, who graduated in December 2013, was drafted by Sky Blue FC during the National Women’s Soccer League College Draft, January 17, 2014, in Philadelphia. Sky Blue FC is located in Piscataway, N.J.
Haagsma said she watched the draft online and when her name popped up on the screen she screamed to her roommates what had happened, then immediately called her family to share the good news.
“There were lots of tears and smiles and congratulations,” Haagsma said. “It was a great moment and a great day for all of us.”
Haagsma credits soccer for bringing her to Texas Tech. After being contacted by Tech’s coaching staff, Haagsma came to Lubbock for an unofficial visit of the campus and said she instantly knew it was the right place for her.
Once she was offered a scholarship to play for Tech, she said she could not pass up the opportunity.
Tom Stone, Tech women’s soccer coach, said before Haagsma was recruited, the women’s soccer program had not yet grown into the powerhouse it is now. The program had not been ranked in the top 20 National Collegiate Athletic Association women’s soccer teams, did not have big home attendance at games, and did not have the soccer facilities it has now, he said.
Haagsma said she had to have faith in what Stone was telling her about where the soccer program could go. Stone said the faith Haagsma had in the program exhibited what a pioneer she would be for the team.
“I think she really thrived on the idea that if it was gonna happen, we were gonna have to do our part,” Stone said, “and if she did hers, she could look back 20 years from now and know that she was one of the main reasons why we got this thing on the map, and I think that really excited her and she embraced the challenge.”
According to a press release by Tech Athletics, Haagsma helped guide the soccer team to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Haagsma also maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout her college career, which helped her earn All-Big 12 academic honors.
She said she credits her parents for her successes on and off the field, whether it was having extra soccer practices with her dad or her mother proofreading her assignments.
“They both taught me to work hard and to earn the things that I want,” Haagsma said. “I watched them live that out their entire lives, and those life lessons and values have definitely shaped my character and outlook on life.”
Looking forward, Haagsma said she is excited to be practicing and playing against the best, which will make her a better player.
According to the press release, Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue head coach and technical coordinator, said the team is fortunate to have picked Haagsma before someone else did.
“I see a lot of upside in her,” Gabarra said. “She is a quality defensive player.”
Outside of soccer, Haagsma said she hopes the opportunity to play on a professional level will help her build a lot of connections in the sports world while also allowing her to be a witness for Christ among her teammates and for younger players who may look up to her.
“My faith is a big part of who I am,” Haagsma said, “and I hope I can do more than just play soccer, but also impact those around me.”
Haagsma began her professional soccer career with Sky Blue on March 10, 2014.
“We’re gonna miss her. She’s a great leader and great young lady, the kind you want representing your program, Stone said.
“I’m so glad that no matter how long she plays or what she goes into after college, when people ask her where she graduated from she’s gonna say Texas Tech and that’s gonna make us all look good.”