Bend it Like…Parker?

Bend it Like…Parker?

She’s been called the traffic controller, the distributor, a worker bee, and the cog of the girls varsity soccer team wheel.

(C) Matthew Cavanaugh

A junior from Amherst, MA, Gia Parker has been playing the game since she was five.  Parker, who has worked very hard to improve her game over the past two seasons, says the trait that has stuck with her throughout the years, and countless practices, is discipline.

“I take good care of my body, I eat well and I have learned good habits,” she said.  “It’s something that I’ve worked really hard at. It didn’t always come easily.“

Monique Conroy is Parker’s advisor, Algebra II teacher, and coach, and has enjoyed watching her advisee develop, both on and off the field.

“Gia came in as a freshman and became a starter at the key position on the field,” said Conroy, adding that that was true even though an older player played ahead of Parker.

In subsequent years, explained Conroy, Parker continued to improve her game, her physical strength, and her endurance.

“She is the fittest girl on the team; nobody will ever question that,” said Conroy.

“As a freshman it was hard for her to make it all the way through a game, now there is no question, she can run for an entire game and maybe two games if she needs to,” she said.

“Gia plays in the middle of the field as our distributor,” said Erin Davey, the head girls varsity soccer coach.

“Her poise and ball control gives our team the chance to build on the attack and head to net,” said Davey. “She’s our traffic controller.”

Parker, who prefers to lead quietly, said, “I always get yelled at by [Coach] Davey to be more vocal. I’m not very loud, but I lead by example.”

There are two seventh graders who practice with the varsity team this year, “and they absolutely adore Gia,” said Conroy.  “She’s reached out to them in a very nurturing way.”

Parker, who is verbally committed to play for Dartmouth in the fall of 2014, wants to major in psychology and return to a private school to teach and coach after college.

Last summer, Parker was on crutches for two months with a debilitating hip injury.  Having completed a painful rehab program, she said, “I had to work really hard to get back and I did a lot of physical therapy, but I’ve had my best season at Williston so far this fall.”

The only plus side of being on crutches, she admitted, was that, “I got a lot of my summer work done, which I might not have done as efficiently.”

“Gia, as a student, is very easy to describe,” said Conroy. “She is a worker bee.”

A dedicated student, Parker takes every opportunity to put her head down and study.  She’s the student who will leave a dorm hall full of distractions in order to study in the solitude of the library, Conroy said.  She is known, “across the board, academically as a really strong worker…her academic motivation is outstanding,” she said.

In addition to playing on the girls varsity soccer team, Parker was selected as the proctor for French House.  During her freshman year, when she was transitioning to the rigors of private school, Parker had very supportive proctors who talked the girls through any situation, she said.  Three years later, she is still in contact with her former proctors and credited them when she applied for the position.

“I wanted to have the same impact on students now that they had on me; that is why I chose to be a proctor,” she said.

Parker is also a member of SoccerPlus Connecticut, a club team out of Meriden, CT.

“Juggling the level of soccer that she plays,” said Conroy, “…there’s only one way to manage all of that, to be completely on top of your time management.”

Parker, laughing, admitted that after practice, schoolwork, and her club team responsibilities.

“It’s not a lot free time for me,” she said, adding that in what little free time she does have she enjoys hiking with her family.

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