Senior Spotlight: Priceville’s Olivia Duran
With the cancellation of the spring sports season, the Enquirer is spotlighting senior athletes from its coverage area with Q-and-A stories. We’ll look to touch base with many more seniors over the next few weeks.
Olivia Duran has spent the last six years playing varsity soccer for the Priceville Lady Bulldogs. She has been one of the building blocks for the soccer program.
She first stepped on the varsity field while she was only a seventh-grader. It didn’t take her long to earn a starting role and her career took off.
She has seen the ups and downs of building a program. This year she was one of the team leaders for a Lady Bulldogs team that had turned the corner. They were 6-0 with wins over West Morgan, Madison Co., and Madison Academy. These were teams that Priceville has struggled with over the years.
Disappointment struck when she found out that her season had first been postponed but later ended long before she planned for it to end. The coronavirus had taken away any shot at a storybook season for the Lady Bulldogs.
The AHSAA moved to cancel the spring sports season on March 27th after Governor Kay Ivey announced on March 26th that schools would be canceled for the remainder of the school year.
The Enquirer spoke with Duran about her soccer career and the disappointment she has experienced due to the cancellation of her season.
Q: When did you get started playing soccer?
A: I started playing soccer at the age of five for the community rec league and I loved the sport. Then at the age of seven, a family friend, Miles Wheeler, suggested to my dad to let me try out for River City United Soccer Club in Decatur. I ended up making the team the first year. The club helped me fall in love with the sport even more and I stayed with the club until this past year when I played for Huntsville FC. Each year I played I fell in love with the sport a little more.
Q: When did you know you wanted to play for the Lady Bulldogs?
A: At first I wasn’t sure if I was ready to try out for the varsity soccer team as a seventh-grader. My nerves were shaking and I didn’t think I could run with the big kids. I talked with one of my club coaches about the tryout. He told me to quit worrying about it and just go play the sport I loved. After making the team, I never thought that I would be able to work my way into the starting lineup during my first year. I was named a starter and the older girls took me under their wings to be helpful and encouraging.
Q: What was it like scoring your first goal in a varsity game?
A: It wasn’t until my eighth grade year that I scored a goal. We were only a few games into the season when I finally got my goal I had been waiting to get. That first goal feeling is one you can’t forget. It’s an indescribable rush of excitement and joy. My teammates celebrated with me on the field and they were just as excited for me as I was. After my first goal, I wanted to continue to score, so I could make my teammate proud and help our team win each game that we could.
Q: What was it like being a part of the foundation for the future of Priceville girls soccer?
A: It was an honor to be a part of the foundation for Priceville Girl’s soccer. I have gone from being the youngest player on the team to being the oldest. It was amazing to be able to see the program flourish over the years.
Q: What were your thoughts about your season coming to an end due to the coronavirus?
A: After hearing that my soccer season ended, there was a rush of several emotions. There was the feeling of shock at the fact that the spread of COVID-19 had ended the season at a drop of a hat when it seemed to have only just begun. Only getting to play six games was not how I imagined this season going. After the shock, came sadness. It began to sink in that the sport I had played for 12 years was over now. But after all of it, I couldn’t help but realize how much God truly had blessed my life with this sport. The opportunities, the friendships, and most importantly the life lessons learned could have never been possible without having this sport. There have been many ups and downs and injuries along the way. I truly wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. As much as I hate to see it end, I am glad that I had the chance to play this game for as long as I did.
Q: What are your plans for after graduation?
A: I plan to attend Calhoun or UAH to pursue my nursing degree. I hope to become a Nurse Anesthetist or Scrub Nurse. I had thoughts about playing college ball, but I decided to end my soccer career after high school.