Athlete of the Week: Sophia Stills ’21

Sophia Stills 21 is a forward on the women’s soccer team from Los Angeles, California. After coming back from an injury that sidelined her for two weeks, Stills has scored two conference game-winning goals in two weeks. Her first came against Ursinus on 9/25/19 when she scored in the 50th minute, lifting Swarthmore to a 1-0 victory. The second came against Franklin and Marshall this past Saturday, this time in the 69th minute. Stills’ goal gave Swarthmore a 1-0 lead, which they held onto for the rest of the game. 

Joe Barile: How did you pick out Swarthmore and get recruited? 

Sophia Stills: I was already interested in Swarthmore when I met Coach Todd at [a recruiting] clinic in Los Angeles. I was really drawn to Swat’s culture of campus activism and social justice. As I learned more about the school and visited campus I ultimately decided it was where I wanted to spend the next four years! 

JB: What was the process like working back from long injury stint in the middle of the season? 

SS: My injury was kind of this weird freak accident where I strained one of my lower oblique muscles on my right side. So for me, the recovery process was a lot of rest and trying not to move the muscle at all. But when I was eventually able to run and kick the ball again it felt so good and I felt even more motivated to work extra hard and really take full advantage of being healthy and back on the field. 

JB: How does it feel to be the goal-scorer of two conference game-winners this year? 

SS: Oh it feels great. I think it really just feels good because our entire team is working so hard and taking so many shots and putting so much effort in, so when any of us is able to put the ball in the back of the net it just feels gratifying because the hard work of the whole team is finally paying off. No goal really gets scored in a vacuum. It’s definitely a result of the aggregate team effort we’re making as a unit.  

JB: Although you guys have had two tough OT losses this season, your team has managed to bounce back each time with 1-0 wins. How have you seen your team respond to the tough situations it has faced  this year? 

SS: I think we have a really great team attitude that allows us to respond positively after those kinds of setbacks. We have really strong leadership in the captains, and I think that our goals don’t really change even when we don’t necessarily succeed initially. I think our response to losses like that is to focus on fixing the problems we see, and really working even harder towards the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the season. 

JB: What improvements have you made to your game since last season? 

SS: I think it’s really helpful to have an extra year of experience under my belt, and an increased understanding of how our team plays and what we are able to accomplish together. I think this year we’ve also been working on communication between the forwards, and I think you can really see that on the field. I’ve also been working on getting up in the air on corner kicks, so hopefully, there will be some more header goals this season! 

Joseph Barile

Joe '21 is from River Vale, NJ. Besides writing for the sports section of the Phoenix, he plays on the Swarthmore Men’s Soccer team and works in admissions as a tour guide.

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