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Sooner Profile - Allyson Kucera
August 17, 2007

NORMAN, Okla. -- Senior Allyson Kucera knows there is life after soccer. This is why she is so grateful for the opportunity to attend the University of Oklahoma.
 
Being able to study at one of the top academic institutions in the nation while continuing to play the game she loves has provided an unforgettable experience, one that Kucera has taken full advantage of in her four years in Norman. On top of starting in every match she has played while wearing the Crimson and Cream, she represents the model student-athlete, earning Academic All-Big 12 honors each of the last two years.
 
Heading into her final season of eligibility, Kucera is looking forward to her last chance to play soccer alongside a group of seniors who have become her best friends, but she is also excited to discover life after college. Whatever the future holds for Kucera, she is sure to be successful.
 
We sat down with Allyson last week for a conversation which reaffirmed our admiration for successful student-athletes such as she.
 
On the relationships she has developed with her fellow seniors over the last four years:
"It was amazing coming in as freshmen. There were six of us who came in and we all lived in the same dorm so it was an immediate bond. We traveled together and did everything else together. It worked out really well that five of us came in and really made an immediate impact on the field. Then Colleen (Keester) came on in the second half of the season and was getting starting time, so the six of us really impacted the team immediately as soon as we came in so we also developed a bond through that.
 
"The six of us have stayed really close all the way through. We're the only class that's ever come in with six people and gone all the way through and graduated six, and then to get Audrey (Habibi) last year as a transfer has made us even stronger. She's a great player with an awesome attitude. We all love her to death and have adopted her into our class. The seven of us are just sort of a unit. We all function really well together. It's been an amazing experience. These are girls who I am really excited to keep up with for the rest of my life."
 
On how much she has grown as a person in her time at OU:
"It has been an amazing opportunity to play at one of the best universities in the nation. It's one of the top five athletic departments so it's obviously a huge privilege. On top of that, getting so many other privileges just because of soccer -- the opportunity to travel all over the country and eventually becoming a leader on the team -- has helped me develop a number of characteristics that are going to help me in the future and for the rest of my life. It's been amazing."
 
On how her athletic and academic experiences have gone hand-in-hand:
"Coming in and having the opportunity to have school paid for has been amazing. And the nice thing about Oklahoma is that it's a respectable academic institution as well an amazing athletic department. The athletics department is all about putting the students first. Even the professors are good to us. We travel all the time so we're constantly gone but they're always willing to help us. It's been such a nice atmosphere to come into where they're really promoting your success as opposed to trying to diminish it. We really gain a lot in the classroom based on the knowledge we have from working as a team and having to work with people. As far as the academic aspect, while missing classes is difficult, you always have your teammates with you and we help each other out all the time."
 
On her academic aspirations:
"My major right now is called Planned Program. It's in the Sociology, Arts and Sciences College. It's an awesome major. I get to take a lot of law classes and that's what I really want to do is go to law school. Eventually I'd like to work with the athletic department, and if I end up not going the law school route they have a great grad program in Athletics Administration that would be great to fall back on. I would love to do that and stay in athletics as long as possible, and obviously this is a great university to be able to do that."
 
On what has enabled her to succeed both on the field and in the classroom:
"For most of us, in order to be successful at the collegiate level you had to have done this a lot in high school. For me, my family lived about an hour away from where I trained for soccer at one of the elite clubs in Houston. Making that trip three times a week obviously requires a significant time commitment. I was also playing other sports while trying to enjoy high school, so I was continuously busy and grew accustomed to it. Now just being focused on soccer, it's been really nice. It's been a relatively easy transition coming from that environment."
 
On the atmosphere surrounding OU Soccer:
"We have everything we need. We just had a brand new stadium built and all the rest of the facilities we have are great. The marketing team does a great job of publicizing our events and we do as much community service as we can to try and get out in the public. The notoriety that we have is great. We have a higher attendance average than most teams around the country. Soccer in the Big 12 is awesome and it's fun to watch."
 
On what she hopes to accomplish in her final season on the field:
"We want to win the Big 12 for sure. That's something the seven of us have been working towards since we got here. We know we're capable of winning it. With the team we have now, you can expect to see great things from us this year. Just the other day after one of our practice sessions, the seven of us were talking about how it was the best session we had ever been a part of since we've been here. I can imagine that's only going to get better as we go along in the season. We're continually training at a higher and higher level. Winning the Big 12 would be huge and getting to the NCAA Tournament has always been a long-term goal. Our main focus is to take it one step at a time and make sure we're doing everything we're supposed to by continually training at a high level. If we do that, success is an automatic."

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