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 Division I athlete at UM. 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 were 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, which has created unwanted conflicts with her classes.
In the end, Huffman said the instructors respect the players for keeping their grades up despite missing a significant portion of the classes.
Huffman 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 wanted to enjoy my senior year to the maximum,” she said. “I know I’m going to miss playing so much.”
Larry Nolan can be contacted at