Ciarra Pederson has been playing soccer for as long as she can remember. “When I was in second grade,” Pederson said, “I began to play at a competitive level.” Pederson has come a long way since elementary school, and even though she will be graduating Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in December of this year, she has played a vital role as part of the ERAU Women’s Soccer team.
“In high school, I made the varsity team as a freshman,” Pederson said, “that was definitely one of my personal highs.” She excelled quickly and was her high school’s team captain her senior year in Puyallup, Wash.
Pederson graduated high school and decided to come to ERAU to join the Lady Eagles. She has had a fantastic time on the team, and she has been the Lady Eagles’ captain since her junior year. “After being injured this entire season, being able to come back and play in and win the CALPAC championship game was incredible,” Pederson said, “especially since I saved two penalty kicks.” She has an incredible academic record as well. Pederson has been a recipient of the NAIA Scholar Athlete award for two separate years, and she won the NAIA Champion of Character award this past season.
Pederson loves to play soccer for a variety of reasons, but one of her favorites is the sense of sisterhood that the team environment creates. “Soccer provides a second family,” Pederson mentioned. “All of my teammates have become sisters to me. Achieving success with these girls after enduring preseason injuries and numerous hardships is one of the greatest feelings.”
She has also learned a great deal from playing the sport, including time management. “In high school, I grew up playing on three separate teams at the same time,” Pederson explained. “I learned to balance practices with homework and family and friendships. In college, traveling every other weekend required me to stay on top of my studies and ensure that I had excellent communication channels with my professors.” Pederson has also learned to push herself harder to achieve more, and to appreciate moments of success.
Pederson has many people she would like to thank. “I want to thank my parents for their support and unconditional love, and my brother and sister for reminding me every day to always push forward and strive to be a role model. I also want to say thank you to my teammates for being more than just a team. We are a family and without each other this journey would have never come close to comparison,” Pederson said.