ELKO — A losing record is not something the College of Idaho girls soccer team is used to, and former Spring Creek soccer standout Amanda Boyce certainly is not used to it either.
The Yotes missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005, but Boyce, who started for the team’s defense this past year, expects the team will not be down for long.
“We got a new coach last year, and last year wasn’t great as far as winning because of the transition in coaching,” Boyce said. “He’s changed things for the better, and we’ll be a lot stronger.”
Last year, the College of Idaho went 5-8-1 under coach Brian Smith and were 4-5 in Cascade Conference play, but the defense came to play. Boyce, who started as a center back, said the defense played well. The Yotes allowed just 11 goals in the nine conference contests and never more than two goals were allowed in any one of those games.
Boyce, however, does not expect to be back on defense this year.
As a freshman, she saw significant playing time in the midfield and scored two goals, but she missed her entire sophomore season with a neck injury. She was able to recover, thanks to some much-needed chiropractic help, and took a defensive spot as a junior. With her final season just weeks away from starting, Boyce is poised to return to the midfield once again.
“Center midfield is where I belong,” she said. “I like dribbling and being able to control how the game goes and the movement. The other girls who play our midfield are very good, so our midfield should be very strong.”
Boyce’s high hopes for the season are also based on a solid group of incoming freshmen that should be able to contribute right away.
The jump to the collegiate rank from high school is tough, but Boyce has navigated it well at the College of Idaho.
“It’s a whole new world,” she said, comparing college to high school. “In high school, soccer isn’t as organized. Every single position has a serious responsibility on the team. It’s really competitive, and you have to fight for playing time.”
During her time with the Yotes, Boyce said she has learned the importance of juggling and first touch. Movement without the ball and being in the right position are stressed on her team. She also noted that team bonding is important as well.
With just one year left, she is also a rare breed of athlete as she has stuck with her sport all the way to the end.
“The school you pick is so important,” she said. “I wanted one with solid academics, solid athletics and good coaching. You also have to make sure your sport is something you want to do and want to put all your effort into.”
The Spring Creek native has been committed to soccer since she was 9 years old. She loves the team aspect of the sport and has been playing club soccer since she was 10.
“The club team is where I really learned how to play soccer,” she said.
Boyce has had the opportunity to play against two former club teammates as former Elko players Mauriana Gonzalez (Eastern Oregon) and Hayley Smith (Oregon Tech) both play collegiately in the same conference.
Boyce played on teams like Nevada Blue, Extreme and Indar, and of course, she played high school soccer for the Spring Creek Spartans. In high school, she was honored as an all-state player and a four time all-league player. She tallied 24 goals and almost 40 assists her senior year.
Boyce said academics are of primary importance, and she majors in exercise science as her interest is in physical therapy. Depending on where life takes her, she said coaching soccer someday would be fun.
“Soccer has taught me dedication,” Boyce said. “You have to work for things that you want in life. Sports drive you to be a better person because it teaches you the need to work hard for what you want.”