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The Champion Within: San Diego's Amy Epsten Leads by Example

Sept. 24, 2008

When Amy Epsten hit the pitch as a freshman for the Toreros, she made an immediate impact leading the team in several categories including goals and points.

This week, she sat down with us to talk about being a senior leader, playing in the WCC, and her overall experiences at San Diego.

Q: Now that you are a senior, what are some team and personal goals for the season?

AE: A huge goal for our team over the years has been to get a national seed for the NCAA tournament. It seems as though we get closer to that goal every year. Personally, as a fifth year senior captain it is to make sure the team is as close as ever and everyone feels like a huge part of the team and are having a great experience.

Q: As the all-time goal scorer in program history, you've scored several significant goals during your career. Is there one particular goal that stands out as being extra special or memorable?

AE: Sudden death overtime goals are a lot of fun but if I had to choose it would be both game-winners against Santa Clara last year and Freshman year because those were huge wins over a prestigious, top ranked opponent and it's my sister's alma mater which makes it that much sweeter. Another great memory was my hat trick against San Diego State Freshman year. The stadium was packed which made for a great atmosphere against our cross-town rival and it was ironically the only game my Grandparents have ever seen me play, I explained to them that every game is like that! (:

Q: How did you get involved playing soccer and what is your earliest memory playing the sport?

AE: My parents got me started when I was 3 years old because I had a lot of energy and my older sisters were both playing and they said I was a natural. My earliest great memory would be an elementary game when I got to play with both of my older sisters and my Dad coaching and we all came together to score the game-winning goal.

Q: Being born and raised in San Diego, did you ever think about going away for college and how and why did you decide on attending USD?

AE: I love San Diego, I have a huge family here that has always been supportive of my soccer career and I didn't feel right robbing them of the chance to see me play through college. However briefly I might have considered leaving San Diego was cancelled out by being such a homebody. I played for Ada at Surf, loved the school and hey, it's America's finest city! Go Chargers!

Q: Being a fifth-year senior, how has your role on the team evolved over the years?

AE: After five years I like to think I have learned the ropes of being a student-athlete. I have definitely tried to be more supportive and identify things I struggled with at a younger age to try to guide the younger ones to make their experience as positive and memorable as possible.

Q: In your eyes, what does it mean to be a good leader?

AE: A good leader to me is a good, positive role model. As a Freshman if you see the seniors having a great attitude and giving it their all, you're going to want to do the same thing. With 30 people on a team, good leaders and good examples to follow are a total necessity.


Q: You were forced to sit out the 2006 season with an injury. How were you able to stay motivated and what did you take away from that experience?

AE: Everyone hates sitting out, especially me. The hardest part was knowing I couldn't be a part of the seniors, some of my best friends, final season. It was hard not being on the field and competing with my best friends for a chance at an NCAA appearance but I knew that I couldn't feel sorry for myself and had to bring the most I could to the team, even if it was on the bench. I took away a lot from the experience, mainly to not take anything for granted, especially the sport I love!

Q: Can you talk about the competitive nature of playing in one of the elite conferences in the country?

AE: The WCC is an awesome conference. I think sometimes we get overlooked on the West Coast and without a football program but we are always very competitive with teams across the country. Averaging about 3 teams making the tournament and consistently being in the top 25 if not 10 is a huge deal and it makes for some fun rivalries.

Q: With the recent development of the Women's Professional Soccer league, do you have aspirations of playing soccer after college?

AE: I think the Women's League coming back is very exciting. It would be great to do something like that while I'm still young; it's a great opportunity. I guess we'll see how this season goes and progress from there.

Q: Is there one particular team in the conference that you get excited to play or that seems to play you guys the toughest?

AE: Santa Clara and Portland are always fun, competitive games. However, the neat thing about our conference is that we get up for every game. Pepperdine and LMU are close rivals and I feel like any team can give you a great game on any given day.

Q: What are the challenges of being a student-athlete and how do you balance athletics and academics?

AE: Being a student-athlete is tough but it's such a great experience. It hurts not to have time for a job but with supportive parents it's definitely rewarding to represent your school and even my home city. Life is all about time management and maybe as student-athletes we lose some sleep and study hours but we make it up with discipline and work ethic and we're going to be much more prepared in the future for our efforts.

Q: Tell me about your decision to major in Accounting.

AE: I entered college as a Business major with the hopes of one day joining the family business. After taking my accounting prerequisites I figured out that I liked the professors a lot and I seemed to be good at it so I went with it. I knew it would be a lot tougher but with some help from my Dad and Grandpa we decided it would be a great path to take that could open up a lot of options for me for the future.

Q: Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

AE: My parents and Grandparents are the most amazing and supportive people I know. Not a game goes by that my Mom, Dad, sisters, aunts, Grandma and cousins don't attend. Family is very important to me and my parents have made a lot of sacrifices for me to be where I am today.

Q: When not studying or playing soccer, what do you like to do in your spare time?

AE: Other than sleeping, I would say going out to eat with my family and hanging out with my dog Bauer and maybe making some time to hang out with my boyfriend and friends too!

Q: For any prospective students and players, what would you say are the best aspects of attending USD?

AE: USD is a great, beautiful school. It is the perfect size and even besides the beautiful Church, structures and fountains is the community. As far as the team goes, you will never meet a closer group of people that would give anything and everything for you!