Coming into her freshman year, Emma Wilkins had a hard time adjusting to college soccer.
“It’s a drastic change from high school to college. You really have to be committed while here and you want to give it your all, even at practice. Having to manage your time wisely and taking care of your body more than usual is very important too because you’re playing more than you ever have before. It’s a lot more of a mental game as well. Coming in I wasn’t really confident in my game.”
Wilkins, a forward from Absegami High School in Galloway Township, NJ, was a high school standout, as she was named to Atlantic County’s First Team her junior and senior year. She played for Players Development Academy (PDA) United outside of high school and led that team in goals and won the NJ State Cup three times.
Her recruitment began around the middle of her junior year of high school and she was interested in coming to Temple right away. “Temple is very well known plus the campus is really nice and has a lot of improvements. We have a new locker room and a new facility but also it’s closer to my home than my other options were,” Wilkins said. “I’m familiar with Coach Seamus O’Connor and I know some of the other girls here. It was a much easier choice than the rest of my offers.”
Two of the girls that Dolan is familiar with are sisters Kelcie and Julia Dolan. Kelcie, a team captain and junior defender, and Julia, a freshman midfielder, attended Absegami with Wilkins. Having Julia come to Temple with her this year and being able to play with Kelcie again made it much easier for Wilkins to adjust to college. “It [playing together] has been a lot of fun. Everyone’s always said that me and Julia have a lot of chemistry together and I’m sure we’ll get to see that more as we get more comfortable. They’re both practically my sisters.”
The fifth game of the season is where Wilkins began to get into her groove. Wilkins has since adjusted and found her confidence. She put away two goals in The Owls matchup vs. Rider University, a comeback win for the Owls that also doubled as their first home win of the season. Moving along on September 3rd vs. Mount St. Mary’s, Wilkins added an assist to a 2-0 shutout win. She is currently tied for the team lead in points with five. Wilkins contributed her confidence boost to her teammates. “They believed in me before I really believed in myself. They may have not even known what I could do but they still knew that there was something in me,” she said, “They all really helped me out and putting and scoring those two goals really helped my game.”
While Wilkins’ contributions have helped the Owls in the last few games, she has attributed all of the late success to the team as a whole. Last year the team had a record of 3-16 and not even through at the halfway point of the season, the team has matched the win total from last year. She stated, “I’ve kept my confidence up and I just see how hard my teammates work and I don’t want to let them down,” Wilkins said, “We really want to do well in conference and to have a winning record in the end.”
Wilkins will look to keep up the pace as the season continues. Although the team is going to take it game-by-game, her main goal is to, “…score more goals and win more also. That’s my favorite part about the game.”