With less than half the season remaining, senior Skye Finley reflects on her playing days
Student athletes come and go. Some go on to the professional level, while a vast majority go off to live their lives beyond sports. University of Minnesota Duluth senior Skye Finley is no different.
Finley, a Forest Lake native, has spent most of her life playing sports, and currently patrols the front lines for the UMD soccer team.
Growing up, Finley played everything from lacrosse to track and field, and was even a part of swimming and diving. But Finley stuck with soccer- a sport she began playing at eight years old.
Finley was a starter all four years for the Forest Lake Senior High School Rangers, racking up awards as the years went by. She was named All-East Suburban Conference in 2010 and 2011, as well as an honorable mention in 2012.
After graduating, Finley spent the Fall semester of her freshman year at St. Cloud State University.
She would go on to tally one goal and one assist while starting all 18 games for the Huskies. In the Spring of 2014, Finley made the switch to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in order to further challenge herself athletically and academically.
“I really liked the level of play [at UMN],” Finley said. “I enjoyed that and I loved going to practice for that reason. But outside of that, it just wasn’t what I was looking for.”
Going into her sophomore year, Finley would make one final switch. This time to UMD. She had to sit her first season out do to ineligibility, but since has played in every single game since the start of 2015.
A lot comes with being a part of a team, especially at the collegiate level where many athletes will play their sport for the final time. For Finley, one of the most enjoyable things about continuing her career is being able to play at a high level, and doing so with her teammates.
“I would definitely say the comradery between the teammates and going out together on the field and winning together really is more impactful for me as a person,” Finley said. “Just being able to play again and keep my passion going.”
Having played defense for a majority of her playing career, Finley moved from center back to forward her junior year to become the team’s top point getter and leader in nearly every offensive category.
Now, in her second year up top, Finley remains a productive goal scorer, but has taken away more than just soccer skills from her time at UMD.
“The biggest is just the work ethic and being able to organize my time so well,” Finley said. “Between school, work, and sports - everything in life - I’ve been able to handle it so much better through having sports. And being able to be in the moment and focus on each thing during the day that you switch off from.”
Finley, a graphic design and marketing major, put those skills to good use during this past summer as she interned with 3M in Maplewood, Minn. During her final week, she was offered a full-time position in the Industrial Adhesive and Tapes department where she will be starting January 22.
With eight regular season games remaining, Finley and the other seniors realize their time playing together is nearly up.
“It’s really sad,’ Finley said. “We’ve been talking about it a lot like ever since preseason. ‘This is our last fitness test ever’ or ‘this is our last preseason’ or ‘this is our last soccer picture day’, everything is going to be our last this year.