July 22, 2003
The women’s soccer Q & A series continues with Heather Beem, who currently plays for the New York Power. Beem was drafted in the 4th round, 25th overall, in the 2003. She finished her career ranked eighth in career points (79), tied for sixth in career goals (28) and tied for fifth in career assists (23) at Clemson. She was a NSCAA third-team All-South Region in 2002 and a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection in 2002.
1. Q. How can you compare a typical training session from the college level to the professional level?
A. For the most part, the content of the training sessions are similar. The one thing that has really stood out to me is how competitive the level is here with New York. The team is really serious in training and things that weren’t a big deal to players at Clemson can break out into a dispute here.
2. Q. What is the biggest difference from playing at Clemson to now being apart of the best league in the world for women’s soccer?
A. The biggest difference is that each day I train and compete against the best players in the world. In a college environment there is huge range of skill levels amongst players and there can be a dramatic difference from one player to the next. There are of course incredible players in this league that are better than the majority, but for the most part everyone is just really good. If you have a bad day at training you can really stand-out.
3. Q. Describe a typical day.
A. In general, our team trains from 10am to about noon each day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we will usually do strength and conditioning. I am done with my commitment to the team no later than 3 every day. I have a lot of free time that I frequently spend training a few 11 year old girls or doing appearances. It’s a pretty great schedule.
4. Q. You were drafted and were not able to attend pre-season training for the Power because you needed to stay at Clemson and finish school so you could graduate. What were your thoughts and how did the players and coaching staff respond to you getting there a whole month later?
A. Well, I was really excited that I was going to be able to graduate from school on time and get to play professional soccer as well. It was like a dream come true. When I first considered that I might get drafted, I felt that I was going to have to give up something that was very important to me; either school for soccer or soccer for school. Todd Bramble was incredibly helpful in figuring out a way for me to have the best of both worlds. He talked to my coach(Tom Sermani) and let him know of my intention to stay in school. When he still drafted me regardless I felt so thankful and blessed. In terms of the team and coaches here, I was really nervous about how I would fit in coming in so late. When I got here however, everyone was so encouraging and accepting. It was a tough situation to be in because in order to make the team, the coaches would have to release someone. That was definitely the most difficult part.
5. Q. Who are you living with while playing for the Power? A. I am currently living with a host family in Long Island. It’s a great situation and they have truly made me feel like I am part of the family. I have two little sisters who are 11 and 14. They come to all of our home games and are definitely my biggest fans.
6. Q. Have you adjusted from a college star and leader on and off the field to playing with many experienced, talented players?
A. Yes, definitely. I think that my role on the team at Clemson has helped me more than ever to make a smooth adjustment to this level. Being a captain at school came with responsibility and thus soccer wasn’t always just about “soccer”. Having said that, my time at Clemson taught me to stay focused on the field regardless of what was going on off of it. I’ve used that to keep me training hard in New York during the times when I first got here when I felt frustrated or disappointed.
7. Q. How has your role changed from college to the pro’s? Where are you playing on the field? Have you switched positions? How many minutes do you see a game?
A. During my last year at Clemson I played attacking center mid. I’ve played that a few times since I ‘ve been here, but in the last four games I’ve been starting as a forward. When I first got here, I was going in as a sub and playing 10 to 20 minutes a game. In the last 4 games I’ve played 80-90 minutes.
8. Q. What was it like to score your first goal in the WUSA? Did you do any crazy celebrations? I heard some of your former Clemson teammates where there to support you as well.
A. It felt amazing. It wasn’t a spectacular goal or anything, but it might as well have been one; it felt that great. I didn’t do any crazy celebrations but just had the biggest smile on my face that you’ve ever seen. And if you know me and the size of my mouth, you’ll know that it really was “the biggest smile that you’ve ever seen”! My Clemson teammates didn’t get to see my first goal, but they came to see New York play against the Courage in North Carolina. It was so awesome to have them there. They made signs for me and were screaming for me the whole game. It made my week getting to see them there but made me a little Clemson/Home sick too.
9. Q. How does the talent of the New York Power stack up with the rest of the WUSA?
A. That’s a hard question. Right now we are seated in 5th place. There are so many great teams and players in the WUSA that it’s hard to compare. However, it’s pretty fair to say that we’re seated where we belong…right in the middle. We’ve had games where we look better than some teams and other games that the opposing team looks better than us.
10. Q. What do you like best about your team? Any class clowns, good road trip stories to share, or embarrassing moments that you might of had?
A. The thing that I really enjoy about my team is that we can train extremely hard and well and still have a great time at practice. I’ve been really amazed by the fact that we can all be laughing and joking around and literally a few seconds later step onto the field and have an amazing practice. About an embarrassing moment… it was about two weeks ago on a really muddy and rainy day when we were warming up for practice by running back and forth across the field. When we got to one side-line we were instructed to back pedal. Just as we got to a particulary muddy portion of the field one of my good friends on the team stuck her foot our behind me. I tried to catch myself but of course there was no hope. I fell straight on my back into the mudd. Everyone started laughing and assumed that I had just tripped over my own feet. I laid there in the mud for a little bit listening to the hysterical laughter of my teammates and realized what a total rookie I was.
11. Q. What are your plans after the season is over? Head home to Vancouver Washington?
A. Once the season is over I have about a month off until I start going to culinary school here in NY city. I’m really excited about it. I just got an apartment yesterday in Manhattan with a friend from home. I can’t wait for my girls back in Clemson to come visit once their fall season is over. We are going to have a blast.
12. Q. How did playing at Clemson over the course of your 4 years help you prepare playing in the WUSA with the best players in the world?
A. There are so many things that come to mind when trying to answer this question. However, the one that seems most apparent is that while I was at Clemson I played with and against many of these same people that are now in WUSA. Playing in the ACC, I was consistently challenged by the talent of the other teams in our conference. Moreover, I was also able to play with Deliah Arrington, Nancy and Julie Augustyniak, Beth Keller, and Katie Carson all of whom have or are currently playing in the WUSA. Overall, I was able to play at a school and be in a situation that is the amongst the best that any school has to offer.
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