948 minutes played for the 2021 season of Piedmont University’s Women’s Soccer program. Earning the starting spot as an attacking midfielder for four years, senior and captain Cassie Kirk holds a very strong physical and mental glue for the program. More importantly, soccer has been a major glue for Kirk within her life.
Being one of the largest influences and impacts for the women’s soccer program, Kirk has earned USA South first-team-All-Conference in 2019 and 2020. In 2018, Kirk earned the USA South All-Tournament Team. Clearly, Kirk holds a major role on the field as a player for the Lions.
Kirk started her soccer career at age 4, not knowing the love and lessons she would encounter along the way. To Kirk, soccer was not just a portion of her life, it has always been the largest part of her life, soccer has consumed her life in every way. Graduating in the spring, soccer will soon be just another time to share and reflect on stories for Kirk.
“Growing up soccer was sort of my identity,” said Kirk. “I have just recently been accepted into medical school and have applied for a few jobs. It is becoming very surreal that soccer will not be the biggest part of me anymore.”
With soccer being one of the major personality traits Kirk holds, she has found that soccer has helped her through many battles on and off the field. Most importantly, Kirk learned being the best will not always be what will win in the end.
“Cassie is one of the hardest working players I think I have ever coached,” said Piedmont head women’s soccer coach, Timmy McCormack. “She loses the ball, she will not give 100% to win the ball back, she will give 200% to get the ball back. Her work ethic on the field definitely
translates to the rest of the team. I could argue that her work ethic was the reason all of her teammates voted her captain.”
For example, in 2019 the women’s soccer team was ranked first and expected to win the conference championship. Knowing that the team was better than its opponent, Salem College, Salem had higher work ethic. Even since the opponent of Piedmont was ranked much lower, the want to win was greater.
“As cliché as it is, the saying that hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard is something I have learned because of soccer,” said Kirk. “I have been the more talented team who has lost, and I’ve been the underdog who worked way harder than the other time to win. But, I think this is really important to take into life outside of soccer because I have worked very hard to earn the opportunities I have, my work ethic is definitely giving me the opportunities such as multiple job offers.”
Without playing soccer for 18 years, Kirk would never have learned valuable lessons that will aid her in life after college. Being the hardest worker on the field directly links to the close to a 1,000 minutes earned in each season, starting in nearly every game for four years straight, and many honors awarded to her.
“Soccer has taught me that I do not have to be the biggest, strongest, or most skilled,” said Kirk. “In life I do not have to be the smartest, most experienced, or most skilled. I just have to out work everyone around me to be the best.”