Soccer player leans on teammates away from home

Being away from home can be hard, but being out of the country is a different challenge.

Senior midfielder Kristen Sinden  is in her last season for the Lions. Sinden is from Belle River, Ontario, Canada, which is 684 miles from UNA.

Sinden said leaving is a big challenge, but her team helps with the process.

“My biggest challenge with being so far away from home is definitely being away from my family, but at the same time, the team feels like my family,” she said. “With the team being so close together and having great coaches, it pretty much feels like a family, which doesn’t make living away from my family back home as hard.”

Sinden said even with the distance, UNA was the school for her. The coaches, team and Leo and Una helped her make the decision to attend UNA.

With no schedule conflict when the fall semester ends, most players get to go home for the Christmas holidays. Sinden said when the players cannot get home for holidays, the other players invite them to their homes.

“My team and coaches always give girls on the team who can’t go home the opportunity to still enjoy the holidays we miss by inviting us to join their families,” Sinden said. “No one on the team ever has to miss a holiday, because so many of our teammates offer us to be with their family.”

“I think that is great and shows that everyone on the team cares for each other and everyone wants to make sure no one is missing out, because during the holidays that you are away from your family is never the easiest,” she said. “When you have such amazing teammates and coaches, we never have to worry about that.”

Soccer head coach Chris Walker said the preseason is a key moment to build up the chemistry between the team.

“We use preseason to kick start the team bonding,” Walker said. “I feel the closer the team is, the harder they will work for each other. The more they get to know each other’s personalities, the stronger they all become. Team chemistry is one of the most important things when building a team.”

Beside playing soccer for the Lions, Sinden said going to McFarland Park and hiking in Florence is her favorite activities to do in the area. When she gets to go home, Sinden said roller blading with her dog down to the lake by her house is another fun activity she likes to do.

The people Sinden meets at UNA will become people she cherishes for the rest of her life, she said.

“Being away from home for months and months is never easy, but it’s made a lot easier when you have such a team that provides you with life-long friendships,” she said.