Leaving Division I: Why women’s soccer players chose to leave Division I schools for Division III

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Having four transfers from Division I schools, the women’s soccer team has been successful this season so far in conference play.

Gaining these experienced players, the team’s overall ability to play well and win games has been improved. 

Transferring to Capital, a Division III school, from Division I schools may seem like an odd thing to do, but they made their decision for personal reasons and are happy with their decision. 

Kimbler transferred from Marshall University to Capital prior to the 2017 season and said that she felt like soccer was a job at Marshall. Photo submitted by Ryan Gasser.

“Before I went to Marshall, you know, soccer was fun, I was super excited to go, and then when I got there, it was more like a job,” Allyssa Kimbler, senior defender, said. “I found out that I didn’t really have time to do things I like to do, and academics weren’t the main focus there, it was more soccer.” 

Wanting soccer to be fun again and wanting to get a law degree, Kimbler transferred to Capital prior to the 2017 season. She’s been with the program for three years now. 

“I used to dread going to practice,” Gabbi Viggiano, sophomore midfielder and transfer from Kent State University, said. “It wasn’t a fun environment.” 

Gabbi Viggiano playing the ball in the game against Wittenberg University where Capital’s women’s soccer team won 2-1 in overtime on Sept. 15. Photo submitted by Ryan Gasser.

Viggiano wasn’t able to take certain classes at Kent State because it interfered with practice times. Wanting to go to med school to be a dermatologist, prioritizing soccer over her school was not something she wanted to happen. 

The two other Division I transfers came in prior to this year. Emily Mathias, junior defender, transferred from Marshall University, and Cassidy Ryan, sophomore defender and midfielder, transferred from Georgia State University. 

Transferring from an out-of-state school, Mathias, Kimbler, and Ryan were all able to return to Ohio, their home state. They are all from the Columbus area, which adds another level of comfort to their decision.  

Head Coach Matt Ogden said that all the transfers haven’t come in with any big-time attitudes and they’ve come in and settled very well. He also had a connection with them, as they played for the same club team that Ogden has a position coaching with, Ohio Premier. 

Photo submitted Allyssa Kimbler, senior defender, boots the ball in the game against Olivet College where Capital’s women’s soccer team won 3-0 on Sept. 1. Photo by Ryan Gasser.

Having experienced a higher level of play, the players have impacted the team positively on and off the field. 

Currently in conference play, the team is hoping to win the OAC title and continue in the NCAA tournament. The team has won their first two conference games against Baldwin Wallace and Heidelberg.  

For their next game, women’s soccer plays under the lights in Bernlohr Stadium against John Carroll on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. 

Mason White

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