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Finding a new normal: soccer captain uses experiences to prepare for life off the field

Ally working in Biology Lab

Allyson “Ally” Badman ’20 loved the pressure of being captain on the York College of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team. It motivated her to be her best, knowing the eyes of the team were on her. She’d gotten used to the challenges of being a student-athlete. A lot of late nights, blood, sweat, and tears went into balancing a heavy course load as a Biology major with practices, workouts, and games.

But watching her roommate head out for a team run and not going with her—that’s not something Ally is used to. With her last season of college soccer behind her, Ally is adjusting to a new normal. A normal in which, for the first time in her life, soccer is not front and center.

A year ago, even six months ago, she wasn’t ready to let go of her time as part of a team. But now as she eyes graduation, she’s finally ready.

Changing the plan

Spending two semesters doing cancer research for her senior thesis taught Ally a lot. Maybe most importantly, it taught her she didn’t want a job working in a lab. “I just don’t like looking through microscopes,” she says.

She came to York College planning to eventually become an orthopedic surgeon or doing some kind of lab work with autopsies. But as she explored those areas in her classes, she realized neither was right for her.

Last summer, reality sunk in: She was going into her senior year, and she had no idea what she wanted to do after graduation. A chiropractor family friend offered to have Ally spend time in the office to feel it out. It was a perfect fit. “I really like the wholistic medicine side of things where you treat the muscular and skeletal side of things as well as nutritional,” she says.

Ally wanted to pursue medicine so she could help people. That’s why she became an EMT and spent time volunteering with a local ambulance service last year. Chiropractic medicine still satisfied that need for her while keeping her connected to the sports world.

Growing through sport

In her four years at York College, Ally has played every position on the field except goalie. Being versatile made her a stronger player, but her role as team captain had an even greater impact. “Being a captain made me grow a lot as a person,” she says. “The whole entire team looks up to you at all times—on and off the field.”

That knowledge pushed her even more than she had on her own. “It just kind of motivated me even on days that I wasn’t feeling as driven to do it for them because I know they would be watching,” she says.

Now that her college soccer career is over, she’s trying new things she never had the time for before like yoga and weightlifting. It’s equal parts fun and frustrating. Being a beginner is another new role for her.

Next steps

Ally’s current plan is to attend chiropractor school after she graduates. She’s already been accepted to Palmer College in Iowa. She’s both excited and nervous. But mostly, she’s ready.

She’s completed her stint as soccer captain. She’s gained incredible experiences that shaped her life. She’s done her time as a Biology undergrad—learning what she does and does not want for her future. And now, she’s ready to go out there and try something new.