Newman alumna Amy Strath is making her goals a reality by joining the professional soccer team FC Fylkir, which is apart of the Pepsi Max Women’s League in Iceland.
Strath said the opportunity came about when the Professional Soccer Consulting Academy reached out to Newman head Women’s Soccer Coach Aaron Avila, requesting his recommendation of a strong center back. Strath was the obvious answer for Avila so he sent the agent her highlight video who then sent it FC Fylkir.
Two weeks later, Strath was signing her first contract to play professional soccer.
For Strath, this whole experience has been unbelievable, she said.
“This has been my dream since I was a little girl,” said Strath. “But I’ll be honest — I never thought it would happen to me.”
During her time at Newman, Strath was both a soccer player and a student assistant after transferring to Newman her senior season. During that season, Strath worked hard on the field, gaining First Team All-Conference honors and Second Team All-Regions honors. She was also named Heartland Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Avila said Strath has always gone above and beyond to make herself and her team better.
“Amy is a very competitive player who is always trying to find ways to play better,” Avila said. “She was fun to push since she was willing to become better and be a student of the game. I demanded a lot out of her, but she was always up for doing her best in a competitive environment and being a leader on the field for the team.”
Strath said that it was Avila who pushed her to realize her dreams.
“[He] not only prepared me for this journey physically but also helped me see what I truly wanted out of life,” Strath said. “And this is it.”
Alumna Erin Mink played with Strath at Newman. She said that Strath’s outstanding determination and character kept her at the top of the game and as a top leader on the team.
“She’s very strong in the air and a very smart player,” explained Mink. “I was very confident in her abilities as a player and as a leader on and off the field. I think these things, along with a lot of hard work and dedication, are how Amy became successful and achieved her dream to play pro.”
Strath said that though soccer is not just a hobby anymore, it is a lifestyle that comes with ups and downs.
“Training is twice as hard — it’s more physical and can drain you mentally,” she said. “I am competing against some of the best players who are also trying to make a living out of it, so it’s a battle.”
Avila said that Strath’s ability to stay focused and to be confident in the face of any adversity will lead her to great heights in professional soccer.
“She is mature as a soccer player and is extremely competitive on the field. She enjoys big games and doesn’t shy away from the big moments.”
Strath said that while she is happy where she is, she will always have goals that keep her moving forward.
“My goal through this league is to help this team as much as I can while also trying to build a good name for myself,” Strath said. “In the future, I’m looking to be able to play in different countries but my major goal is to make it back to playing in America at a high level.”
Mink said she and Strath have been successful because of Newman and its women’s soccer program.
“I think Newman soccer has helped all of us grow because it taught us hard work, dedication and commitment to the sport and our team,” Mink said. “We became a family over the years and all the hours we have spent together created a special bond between us that I will cherish forever.
“I am not only doing this to achieve my dreams,” added Mink, “but to show little girls that dreams don’t work unless you do.”