Oct. 10, 2002
During her playing career, Ohio State head coach Lori Walker led the University of North Carolina to national championships in each of her three seasons minding the Tarheel net. So it is safe to say that she knows firsthand the type of athlete it takes to handle the duties of a goalkeeper at the Division I level. Buckeye sophomore keeper Emily Haynam, who doubles as a member of the Ohio State women's basketball team, not only possesses the ability to defend the goal in soccer, but is also capable of taking it to the rim in basketball.
Haynam, who splits her time at center and forward for the women's basketball team, has taken on the immense challenge of competing in two varsity sports, while also understanding the continued devotion needed to succeed as a student-athlete.
"It basically comes down to just prioritizing your time," Haynam said. "I think it is a matter of getting things done. Playing both sports actually keeps me on schedule. Right now I don't feel too bogged down, but when basketball starts next week it will be more difficult, but I am prepared for that and basically I just need to mentally prepare myself for each day."
Mental preparation has been a strong point so far in Haynam's scholastic career as she earned academic All-Big Ten status last season and OSU scholar-athlete honors for the second consecutive year.
"I do not see Emily playing two sports as an issue because she is such a good student," Buckeye women's basketball head coach Jim Foster said. "Most of these kids played two sports in high school so it is really nothing new to them. Academics is the real challenge they face. Taking Emily's academic past into account, I do not foresee her having any problem."
Although Haynam missed nearly all of preseason camp while on a European tour with her basketball teammates, she has gained valuable experience logging 115 minutes of action and recording four saves so far this season. Those figures are not the only contributions Haynam has made to the 2002 squad. Walker expressed how Emily's attitude and outlook on juggling the two sports has been an uplifting influence on her soccer team. "Her excitement in joining the team really brought upon a breath of fresh air for our club," Walker said of the 6-2 goalie. "Watching her have so much fun with soccer was really a joy for all of us."
Although soccer and basketball may conflict a bit in relation to her daily schedule, Haynam, along with her respective coaches, believes that competing in the two sports will compliment and improve her abilities both on the field and on the hardwood.
"Soccer definitely helps with the fitness aspect in hoops, while the squats and power lifting we do for basketball has helped me become a better goaltender. The hand-eye coordination in basketball helps me get a step ahead in soccer and the footwork involved in soccer helps me get that much quicker in basketball. The two sports definitely compliment each other."
Walker, who played both soccer and basketball at the high school level, explains further how playing both sports can benefit an athlete.
"As a goalkeeper it is all hands and feet," Walker said. "The motions are similar in basketball, but she also gets to use different muscles while on the court. Her lateral ability and her hands are already fantastic. I think that the two sports truly relate and the combination of skills will help her succeed in both sports."
Foster shares similar feelings toward the influence each sport has upon the other.
"I think being a goalie helps her ability to react and improve her quickness. There is a lot of running involved in soccer so I think it helps with conditioning as well." Foster said.
Playing multiple sports is not uncharted territory for Haynam, who became the first female athlete in Westerville South history to win 12 varsity letters, four each in soccer, basketball and track and field, but when asked to pick a favorite sport Haynam decides to take a neutral stance.
"It's not a competition between the two," Haynam said. "Basketball has more hype surrounding it and I think that is something that turned me on to the sport at first, but I have played soccer for so many years. Both sports are something that I have enjoyed throughout my life."
Walker emphasized how valuable the opportunity is for an athlete to be able to step away from one sport and walk into another.
"Having the chance to get away from one sport and play another is a refreshing psychological advantage," Walker said. "It helps you in having to blend with different teammates and the different chemistries of the separate sports. I think ultimately it helps you become a better teammate."
Haynam relishes the opportunity to return to playing the two sports she loves.
"Soccer is something that I really enjoyed playing and I truly missed," Haynam said. "Just to be out here and having fun and having the chance to represent Ohio State in two sports is so worthwhile. Becoming a part of this soccer team has been a great experience."
Haynam and the Buckeyes play host to the Iowa Hawkeyes Friday night at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m. OSU will conclude the weekend series on Sunday with a match versus Illinois set to kickoff at 2 p.m.