Getting to Know Women's Soccer: Elena Bernstein
Nov. 26, 2013
CHICAGO - Over the next several weeks, UICFlames.com will profile the UIC women's soccer players. The women's soccer program was launched in November of 2012 with the hiring of head coach Brian Rigby, but won't begin varsity competition until the fall of 2014. Until then, UICFlames.com would like to `Get to Know' the newest additions to our Flames Family.
UICFlames.com: What made you choose UIC?
Elena Bernstein: I grew up in Chicago. I love the city and I love being close to home and my family, but what really made me choose UIC is the soccer program. I knew I wanted to play soccer in college and the fact that I was offered a soccer scholarship made it an easy choice
UICFlames.com: What is your intended major?
Elena Bernstein: Biological Sciences
UICFlames.com: Talk about your experience playing soccer in high school.
Elena Bernstein: My experiences playing soccer in high school were interesting. I wasn’t on varsity my freshman year, I was on junior varsity. I knew that I wanted to be on varsity with the rest of my friends so it made me work harder and the next three years I was on varsity. We won city all four years in high school and won regionals three times, so my experience in high school was pretty awesome.
UICFlames.com: Talk about the transition thus far from high school soccer practices to college practices.
Elena Bernstein: High school was definitely simpler, everyone knew what to do. Coming onto a college soccer field, playing with college coaches makes it a lot more intense. It’s more strategic and you have to know what you are doing on and off of the field to make sure you keep yourself healthy and to know that your game is going well.
UICFlames.com: What are your thoughts toward being the first women to ever play on a UIC women’s soccer team?
Elena Bernstein: It’s pretty exciting, actually. Sometimes it’s still hard to believe that it is really happening but it’s awesome to be a part of a new historic moment at UIC. I hope we can have a pretty awesome season next year and people will come out to watch us.
UICFlames.com: How has it been getting to know your teammates on and off of the field?
Elena Bernstein: Two of my teammates, Cecilia and Jasmin, are my best friends from high school, so playing with them here is pretty awesome since we have been playing together for five years. Also, Kendall is my roommate, so we have gotten really close. As soon as we got here, it was a little rocky playing together and getting to know each other, but it only took about a day for all of us to hit it off. We are all quite close now and it’s pretty awesome.
UICFlames.com: How excited are you to play for coach Rigby?
Elena Bernstein: Very excited. He is an amazing coach, a great person on and off of the field. On the field, he is definitely the coach you want to have. He pushes you, but he doesn’t make you feel like you don’t belong.
UICFlames.com: From what you have seen in practices, what do you think your team’s philosophy will be?
Elena Bernstein: Definitely keeping the ball on the ground and playing a passing game. We are all kind of short so having air-balls probably won’t be the best thing for us.
UICFlames.com: What would you say is you biggest strength that you bring to the team?
Elena Bernstein: Speed is one of them, but definitely my ability to keep a team going. I am very supportive on and off of the field. I know sometimes during games it gets tough but I’m someone that keeps everyone motivated and keep their spirits up to keep the game going.
UICFlames.com: What do you see as some of the teams’ strengths?
Elena Bernstein: Our ability to work together. We have all clicked, we are a very fast team and we have a lot of strategic game techniques.
UICFlames.com: How do you plan to improve your game by the time the season begins next fall?
Elena Bernstein: Just working on small things like speed work and techniques so by next year it will be a lot easier to go through the motions.
UICFlames.com: By the time you graduate from UIC, what impact do you hope to make both on and off the field?
Elena Bernstein: I hope to be able to recruit girls’ from the inner-city to come to this school to be a part of this soccer team, and just to be a student at UIC in general. I want to be able to show people that you can do anything if you just continue to push yourself to follow your dreams and not be afraid.
UICFlames.com: Now that you are living in downtown Chicago, what has been your favorite experience so far not relating to soccer?
Elena Bernstein: Walking around the city with my teammates. Although I’ve lived here, there are some areas like Little Italy and Greektown that I hadn’t fully seen, so it was fun to be able to roam around those parts of the city together.
UICFlames.com: When you are not playing soccer, or in class, what do you like to do in your free time?
Elena Bernstein: I like to listen to music and relax. I like to hang out with friends or go home and hang out with my sister. I like to do anything that will keep my body calm, for once.