One goal in mind

Senior Helene Farris has overcome obstacles on her path to stardom

Senior+forward+Helene+Farris+kicks+a+ball+in+her+LEE+uniform.+Farris+will+play+a+key+role+on+this+year%27s+team.

Joe SA Photography

Senior forward Helene Farris kicks a ball in her LEE uniform. Farris will play a key role on this year’s team.

Tim Tschoepe, Sports Editor

A challenge. 

That is the best word to use when describing the journey of senior forward Helene Farris. But as they say, you can either shy away from a challenge or give it your all, and Farris did just that: she gave it her all.

Growing up, Farris always had a lot of energy. Sports were her outlet.

“I played many sports growing up,” she said. “It was a way to stay active and be able to go to bed at a decent time.”

The one sport that stuck was soccer.

“Soccer gave me a chance to run, and I had so much fun when I played the game” Farris said.

She played multiple sports up through middle school before ultimately deciding to stick solely with soccer. She looked to it as an opportunity to earn a scholarship, not to mention all of the fun she had playing for both her club team and school.

“Club soccer is a lot different than the school team” Farris said. “In club soccer, you play with a mixture of girls from all over the region, which really brings out the best in your game.”

She excelled on her club team, but the next step was catching the eyes of college scouts.

“I feel like a lot of people think that it’s easy to get the attention of scouts, but there is a lot that goes into it,” Farris said. “There is a lot of emailing coaches and getting your name out there that goes on behind the scenes.”

All of her hard work, emailing coaches and training would pay off her eight grade year, when she got her first offer from a collegiate program to play college soccer. The University of Texas at San Antonio was the first school to come calling, followed by the Air Force Academy and more.

“I took a lot of time just to think about it and take it all in,” Farris said. “I looked at what I wanted to do when I got older, and then I eventually committed my freshman year.”

She eventually narrowed her list down to UTSA, the University of Arkansas and St. Edwards. In the end, she went with her hometown team.

“It was the culture,” Farris said. “UTSA’s culture was a huge factor for me. The coaches were very welcoming to me, and it just felt like family. UTSA in particular was just a very positive place, and I know a lot of the girls from club and school [who play for the Roadrunners], so I was super excited to join them.” 

Going into high school, Farris made the varsity team at LEE High School, one of the top programs in the nation. She was bombarded with stress and and high expectations early on.

“It was stressful, but at the same time it was super amazing because it forced me to be at the top of my game and as an athlete, that is all you want,” Farris said. “You want the pressure because it adds to the intensity and the joy of performing at your best.”

From her freshman year on she saw great progress in her play. She played center-forward, which allowed her to “see the game a lot better, and read the game in ways (she) couldn’t before.”

At LEE, she faced a great deal of pressure because of her UTSA commitment, but she performed even better than expected. Just as she was started to get acclimated to the varsity level, though, her season took a turn for the worst.

Farris’ ankle was broken. Her season was over, and she had a five-month long road of rehab and hard work ahead of her. But she took on the rehab just like she took on the challenge of chasing her dreams of playing college soccer: with a mindset of coming out stronger and even better.

Farris made the move to Smithson Valley earlier this year along with a smooth transition to the team and its workouts.

“At Lee, our workouts were a lot more strength-based, and here with Coach Adkins we do a lot more conditioning and cardio, which is good for me because you can never have too much cardio,” Farris said.

Her move came with a lot of changes, including adjusting to a new style of coaching, both on and off the field. One aspect that popped up was coach Jason Adkins’ use of constructive criticism, which Farris appreciates.

“Coach Adkins is so positive and such a great coach,” she said. “But he’ll hold everyone accountable, which is good … I think he gets the best out of not just me, but all his players because of that.”

The addition of Farris will make the already-competitive girls soccer team even more explosive, and give them another on-field leader once the season starts.

“She is a beast,” Adkins said. “I think the addition of her (Farris) really will help us this year.”

Farris said she was grateful to her new coaching staff and teammates for welcoming her in with open arms,and was excited to get back onto the field.

“I am ecstatic and super excited to play with the girls,” she said. “I love the girls, and I can’t wait to play with them and just be out there with them. It’s going to be super fun. I mean, this is a tough district, but we have to go in there confident, and I think we have the team to go far. I’m super ready. It’s going to be a great season.