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Newsom breaks into soccer stardom

Adam Weiss/Photographer: Aryn Newsom, in addition to breaking the school record for wins, has also been named the MVC Scholar Athlete of the Week.

Adam Weiss/Photographer: Aryn Newsom, in addition to breaking the school record for wins, has also been named the MVC Scholar Athlete of the Week.

Josh Tolentino

Sports Reporter

Last week, Aryn Newsom broke the all-time school record for game wins with 38 victories during her time at ISU.

Growing up in the small town of Manteno, Ill., redshirt senior goalkeeper Aryn Newsom was raised as a humble and quiet girl who loved soccer. She grew up playing club soccer and was brought into an elite program at Manteno High School. Coming into Illinois State, the program had very low expectations of Newsom. She was not expected to start; she was not even expected to play. There were other goalies in front of her and she did not get many reps coming in. Newsom had no idea what her college career had in store for her. ISU had no idea what Newsom had in store for the soccer program. Five years later, she finds herself as the most-awarded goalie in University history. It is the latest, and possibly the most hallowed record in school history now being held and added to by Newsom.

Newsom started playing soccer at the age of 7, beginning with club soccer for the Chicago Magic. Along with club soccer, Newsom also was involved around recreational district programs in Manteno. As her love for the sport grew, she was nurtured in an elite program at Manteno High School. Newsom led Manteno to the state title in 2009, defeating Rochester, 4-0. During her senior year, Manteno fell just short in the state championship, losing to Quincy Notre Dame, 2-0. As her senior year approached its end, Newsom realized she wanted to play college soccer. After visiting ISU’s facilities and campus along with a meeting with head coach Drew Roff, she knew she wanted to call ISU her new home.

Coming into ISU, Newsom knew she had a long journey ahead of her. She knew what she was coming into, with two other goalies in front of her on the depth chart; it was going to be hard to get any type of playing time.

“I wanted to play, but I knew I had a tough road ahead of me,” Newsom said. “I didn’t get many reps. I definitely wasn’t ready my freshman year. I decided to redshirt.”

After redshirting her freshman year, Newsom came back refreshed and ready to make the most of her playing time. She remembers the point when things took a complete turn in the right direction.

“I think 2011 was a turning point. Since I’ve been here, things have really improved,” Newsom said.

Since then, ISU’s soccer success has been at an all-time high. They have captured three straight MVC Championship titles and have made appearances in the NCAA tournament. Throughout all of this, Newsom has been the backbone of it all.

One of Newsom’s closest mentors, assistant and goalkeeper coach Katie Baumgardner, keeps high regards for Newsom.

“There is so much to say about this girl. Aryn is the last line of defense. She is the team’s backbone and captain; she is expected to hold this team’s defense to a very high standard,” Baumgardner said. “In my time here, she’s improved every single year.”

Last Sunday, Aug. 31, Newsom broke the all-time school record for wins, surpassing former record-holder Becky Feldman. She captured her 37th win, a school record, with a 5-1 victory against Central Michigan. Since then, Newsom continues to add to that record with a win against Sam Houston State, upping the win total to 38. By the end of the season, Newsom will have added many more wins to that total, a record that will be held by Newsom for a very long time.

Newsom reflects on her past five years at ISU, remembering her time as the one of the least experienced players on the team.

“I’ve been in every spot. I’m that girl, the one who never played. ‘She’s the last one picked, she’s the last girl to go in,’ that was always me. I was never handed anything. I’ve always worked hard; I’ve been in every boat,” Newsom recalled. “Now it’s to the point where they expect more out of me. I’m the veteran. I try telling the girls what it was like before, when I wasn’t the superstar, when it was hard for me. I know I’ve become stronger because I worked hard to get here. It’s a good feeling seeing how far I’ve come never being handed anything. My experience at ISU has definitely made me a stronger person.”

Starting from the bottom, Newsom has truly been in every spot, from not being able to play her freshman year, to getting playing time and growing stronger as a person, to being the most decorated goalkeeper in school history. As a hardworking student athlete, Newsom has remained humble throughout the growing process.

“37 wins, they give it all to me, but it’s a complete team effort,” Newsom said. “It’s a reflection of every single girl who has ever stepped foot on the field with me, every coach, everyone who has helped me. I know I’ve grown in every area. I can’t even tell you how much I’ve learned on and off the field. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t surrounded with the people I’ve been with since I’ve gotten here. Our last graduate assistant Julie Hanley, Drew [Roff], Katie [Baumgardner], everyone I’m surrounded by, it’s where the real credit is due.”

Newsom carries that record-breaking success from the field into the classroom. An Exercise Science major, Newsom has a 3.89 cumulative grade-point average (GPA), grasping a perfect 4.0 GPA last semester.

“It’s not about her winning goalkeeper of the year all the time, but instead it’s her leadership. She has the most experience out of any goalkeeper to walk through ISU’s doors,” Baumgardner said. “On and off the field, Aryn is a role model to everyone on the team. She gives 110% every single time and as her coach, what more can you ask for?”

As the soccer season kicks into full gear, Newsom prepares for a tough final year. She hopes that she is able to leave ISU on the best note possible.

“I’m hoping to hold our program to the very high standards that are brought upon us,” Newsom said. “We want to be as successful as possible and hopefully this year we can make it even farther in the tournament than last year.”

No matter what happens this season, Aryn Newsom has already left her mark at ISU. She already holds, and will continue to add to, the program record for all time wins. As a soccer superstar on campus, Newsom continues to remain the humble, small town girl she grew up as. She has gone through every experience imaginable as a soccer player, and now she is the most decorated goalkeeper to ever play at Illinois State.

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