Huffman battles through season of adversity

Women’s soccer team midfielder Anik Huffman’s performance throughout her career has been nothing short of prolific.

Huffman’s freshman season in high school set her on a path to realizing her potential as a well-rounded Division I athlete at the University of Miami. In that year she earned the distinction of being the Rookie of the Year. She finished high school with 33 career goals and 17 assists at Winter Park High in Winter Park, Fla.

What kept the fire and enthusiasm alive for her was neither the achievements nor the accolades.

It was the relationships.

Huffman said that the building of friendships and her own self-esteem was a major factor in her continuation with the sport.

“It’s important to have something growing up that you can sort of gain self-esteem from…It helped me have something about myself to be proud of,” she said.

Along with the social and emotional contributions, Huffman attributes a large part of her academic success to soccer. She said soccer forced her to become more focused on how to juggle her commitments efficiently.

“I wanted to balance soccer and I wanted it to be a part of my life so much in high school. I wanted to carry that over in college,” she said.

Her involvement with the International Baccalaureate Program gave her “good practice to learn how to have to handle both aspects of my experience,” she said. The program requires rigorous study and numerous 10 to 15-page reports throughout each semester.

Her senior year has presented her with similar yet increasing challenges. The ACC schedules a higher number of weekday games than the Big East did last season, which has created unwanted conflicts withher classes.

In the end, Huffman said the instructors respect the players for keeping their grades up despite missing a significant portion of the classes.

Right now, Huffman has adjusted and readjusted her goals throughout a season that has been ravaged by everything from hurricanes, questionable officiating, bad breaks, bad injuries and disappointing defeats.

“I just want to enjoy my senior year to the maximum. I know I’m going to miss playing so much,” she said.

Huffman said she admires the sentimentality and zest that her other senior teammates share for their last season with the team that they love so much.

“We tell the younger girls that when you’re a senior, you’ll understand,” she said. “It’s a totally different way of looking at things.”

Huffman and the rest of the team hope that this perspective can translate into wins and salvage a season of adversity.

“The hardest part is telling people you’re 2-6. Hopefully we can realize that it’s not over and we can just pick up from here,” she said.

As Huffman looks forward to life after undergraduate studies, visions of the MCAT and medical school loom on her horizon.

Huffman said that she will inevitably take that next step to medical school, but for the next year she just wants to “relax, be free, and play pick-up soccer with all of my friends.”

Larry Nolan can be contacted at