Thursday's Conversation With Former San Diego State Women's Soccer Star Haley Palmer
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Welcome to Thursday’s Conversation. Each week, one Mountain West student-athlete will be featured by answering a series of questions.
Joining the conversation this week is former San Diego State women's soccer player Haley Palmer. Palmer was a three-time All-Conference selection (2011-13) and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year honoree (2012-13). In her final two years at San Diego State, Palmer helped guide the Aztecs to back-to-back Mountain West regular-season and tournament championships. In 2012, San Diego State reached the Round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.
In April, Palmer signed a contract with the Western New York Flash of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), and spent the entire 2014 season with the team. Currently back in San Diego State working on completing her bachelor's degree in communications, Palmer was at the SDSU Sports Deck on Nov. 6 to watch the Aztecs take on Colorado College in the semifinals of the 2014 Mountain West Women's Soccer Championship.
Before getting to the tournament, though, San Diego State concludes its regular season with a match on Friday against New Mexico at the San Diego State Sports Deck. First tap is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT and the match will be broadcast on the MWN.
Question: How does it feel to return to the SDSU Sports Deck as a fan, rather than a competitor?
Answer: There's a lot of mixed emotions. I'm really proud of the girls that were juniors last year that have really taken on a leadership role with the team this year. But at the same time, there's a bit of sadness knowing that I can't be out on the field helping the team.
Q: You had a lot of success playing on this pitch. Is there a moment that maybe stands out above the rest?
A: Without a doubt it has to be when we played Cal here in the 2012 NCAA's. I still get chills today talking about it, and thinking about how many people were packed in here watching. It's special, not just because we won (2-1), but because of how much camraderie there was on the team. We were all best friends and I think that showed on the field and helped us win a lot of games, so I am very happy I was able to be a part of that.
Q: Did you think playing soccer professionally was in the cards for you?
A: Not until my senior year. Mike (Friesen, San Diego State women's soccer head coach) encouraged me to enter the draft, and although I wasn't drafted, I wound up getting invited to the Western New York Flash open tryouts. From there, I eventually signed a contract with them and they have picked up my option for next season. I'm so grateful that I was able to have an experience like this past season, because I learned so much as a player and a person.
Q: Part of the reason you are back in San Diego is to finish your degree. Any plans once you get that diploma?
A: I'm majoring in communications and am on track to graduate next May. Right now, I'd like to see how far professional soccer takes me, and then re-evaulate things from there.
Do you have a student-athlete you’d like to see featured in an upcoming Thursday's Conversation? Contact Dan Johnson at djohnson@TheMW.com