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Isabel Dehakiz began playing soccer at just four years old and has enjoyed the sport ever since. But, playing soccer at a Division 1, Pac-12 school like Arizona State University was not originally part of her plan.
Dehakiz, a Barrett Honors College sophomore majoring in kinesiology, envisioned herself playing at a Division 2 or Division 3 school near her hometown of Anaheim, Calif., if she played at all.
When her high school coaches told her that college coaches at Division 1 schools like Baylor University were asking for her, Dehakiz was surprised. Then, ASU reached out.
“I was like, holy cow it's Pac-12. It’s a whole D1, biggest school out there, basically,” Dehakiz said. “Ever since I knew a couple colleges were looking at me I was like, okay, maybe I can go and see how far I can get.”
The opportunity to be a student in Barrett factored into Dehakiz’s decision to attend ASU and play on the women’s soccer team. Dehakiz hopes to eventually become an orthopedic surgeon and found the extra challenge of being part of an academically competitive community appealing.
“I've always loved learning in school and stuff, and I think it was just, it was perfect, because I honestly didn't know I was going to get in with the whole application and everything,” Dehakiz said. “But then once I got the letter, I was like, you know what, I can do this. And so it was just awesome.”
Playing soccer is an integral part of Dehakiz’ everyday routine. She attends three-hour practices every morning, with one day off, then heads to class. Some days, she doesn’t get home until 10:15 p.m.
On top of that, Dehakiz spends about half of each month traveling for soccer, making it more challenging to meet the academic standards she sets for herself.
“I have to do a little bit more in less time than most people, and so that’s really stressful,” she said. “Even though it is stressful, you can get through it. And with that high standard, I think it's very rewarding at the end, especially in Barrett too, once you get honors credit or something like that.”
Dehakiz said taking The Human Event, a signature Barrett course for freshmen, shaped her goals and interests significantly, as well as broadened her ability to think critically and relate to others.
“The professors just make you think about different things in different ways. I noticed, and even my family has noticed, that I talk a little differently and think of things differently,” she said.
When her teammates ask about The Human Event, Dehakiz assures them that it is worth taking. “I loved it. I always got to read different things that I would have never read. And they're like, ‘Oh, I don't like reading,’ but I’m like no, trust me,” she said. “I just really liked the professors. All the professors are awesome.”
This semester, Dehakiz is taking a religion class in which she is working on an honors contract focusing on Israeli women in the military. She credits her interest in the subject to her Human Event class where much of the discussion centered on women in society. Dehakiz combined this with her interest in the military to create a project that she liked.
After taking a religion course every semester since arriving at ASU, Dehakiz aims to add religious studies as her second major. “If I don't get a major it's okay, then I'll get a minor. I'll always get a win-win type of deal. Because I really love it, love learning about it,” she said.
As a freshman last year, Dehakiz earned straight As, and she intends to meet that standard again this semester.
Dehakiz’ commitment shows in her performance on the field as well. Since her debut on the team last year, Dehakiz sees growth in her playing time and now plays nearly every minute of each game.
“That’s an award in itself, I think,” she said. This year, Dehakiz hopes her team makes it to the NCAA tournament, a goal the team fell short of last year.
Dehakiz said students considering pursuing athletics in college should “go for it.”
“No one's stopping you. Be confident in yourself is what I tell myself. It's not a cocky or selfish thing. Just be confident in knowing what God gave you, basically. So yeah, go for it. Chase whatever you want.”
Story by Greta Forslund, a Barrett Honors College freshman majoring in journalism.