Transfer deals with going from starter to reserve

Paul Cordes

From 34 starts as a freshman and sophomore at Iowa State to one start as a junior at Minnesota, midfielder Renee de St. Aubin has had some adjustments to make.

De St. Aubin, a native of Stillwater, started all 21 of the Cyclones’ games last year and was their second leading scorer with six goals and 12 points. Her play was certainly a factor in Iowa State’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2005.

But de St. Aubin decided her academic achievements were also very important and transferred to Minnesota, where she would be able to continue on to graduate school with a degree in physical therapy – a major not offered at Iowa State.

Because soccer differs from other sports like basketball and football, and because the Cyclones released de St. Aubin from her scholarship, she didn’t have to sit out a year.

De St. Aubin said she was glad her former coaches released her so she was able to go where she could pursue her graduate degree, as well as play soccer for a team she said she heard a lot of good things about.

However, because of the transfer, de St. Aubin has found herself back at the starting block as she adjusts to a new school, a new coaching staff and a new team.

As an upperclassman, de St. Aubin wanted to be able to play a leadership role with two years of collegiate experience under her belt, but found it isn’t easy.

“It’s hard to come in as a transfer student,” she said. “You kind of have to start over again as a freshman. As a junior, you want to be able to be a team leader, but I had to first find my place and see how the rest of the girls took to me before I could step up.”

Coach Mikki Denney Wright, who, as a player, transferred to Minnesota after spending two years with North Carolina, said transitions can be tough, but de St. Aubin has handled it extremely well.

“Any time you go from one style to another it’s hard, because everybody plays a little bit differently, and you have to come and learn all over again and prove yourself all over again,” she said.

“But I think Renee has kept a positive attitude and she got her opportunity. She proved herself and now she’s getting more and more minutes.”

Not only have her minutes increased, but de St. Aubin made her first start of the year against Illinois on Oct. 6.

Still, de St. Aubin’s role has had to be adjusted.

The Gophers are stacked with central midfielders this year, so de St. Aubin has taken on the role of a target front runner who can keep possession of the ball.

Although she hasn’t seen the playing time she did at Iowa State, de St. Aubin said she believes the team is more important than the individual and the level of competition is great on the team.

“Different programs have different ideas about different players and how and where to play them,” she said, “and I think the competitiveness on the team plays a part, too.”

According to freshman Sara Clancy, the new role de St. Aubin is playing makes her a pivotal part of the Gophers team.

“She came in and nobody really knew who she was and she usually was pretty quiet,” Clancy said. “But, now that we’ve gotten to know her better, she has really been an incredible person to have on this team.”