by Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor Photos provided by Daemen College Athletics
Jamie Boyar makes it look easy.
The Daemen College senior has dominated the college soccer scene since she stepped foot on campus after a great career at Williamsville South High School. But, anything that Boyar has done on the pitch as been easy.
It make look easy, because she is that good. However, she has put in the hard work that it takes to become a great Division II student-athlete.
“Although Williamsville South is a great program, easy is the exact opposite of what I would call it,” stated Boyar. “Coming into Daemen my freshmen year I have never been more nervous to play soccer, I mean college soccer is made up of the best from each high school, so to come in and start and have some success as a freshman was unexpected and really exciting.”
Boyar used the playing time as a freshman to springboard her career. Each yeah she has gotten better. Each year the program has taken the next step. Last season, the programs best since becoming a Division II member, saw Boyar has the best season of her career.
The goals where there along with the stats, however, what people probably didn’t see was the leadership she deployed over the season. Boyar was the upperclassman and she took the team under her wing.
It was exactly what both program and player needed.
“As a leader it is all about buying into it yourself. As a team we all trust each other, and we have a saying “if one goes, we all go”, so when there is a disagreement, we talk about it as leaders and then as a team we work it out together,” stated Boyar. “It's not so much changing your personality, it's more about growing into it. Leadership is a difficult job and there will be some conversations that aren’t fun, but necessary. As a freshman, there was no way I would’ve been ready to be a leader on a college team. I had too much growing up to do. Once you have been around and you mature a little more, your leadership skills develop into the type of leader you want to be and what is best for your team.”
Boyar definitely did some growing up. She was always one of the main go to players while at Williamsville South. In college, Boyar had to find her way. She needed to slowly work her way into what it took to be a college soccer player.
Each year she got better. Each yeah she added more to her game. Last year, Boyar was unstoppable. There were days she was just in the straight zone, scoring five goals. Scoring his always fun for a forward, especially when they are just out there having fun doing it.
“I got lucky and found what worked for me the summer coming into my freshman year, so I stuck with that and tried to push myself more and more each summer. I have an amazing support system in all areas. My trainers, Ron Brissette and Jason Collinsworth, have given an immeasurable amount of help when it comes to preparing for a season, both physically and mentally. They remind me that I am human, but they also aren’t afraid to give me a push when needed. Coming back to school I don’t lose a step, I still have Ron and Jason’s support, but I also have the entire Daemen coaching and athletic training staffs there to help me with whatever may come up,” stated Boyar. “It’s awesome. Scoring is such a fun part of the game and there really is no better feeling than that ball going into the back of the net and your team coming over to celebrate with you. Being in the zone is just when I allow myself to not overthink the plays and the runs and just have fun.”
Having fun is something that Boyar is trying to do for her final year of college soccer. Just four years ago she was a wide-eyed freshman wanting to fit in. Now, she will be leaving a program that she helped build up to being a contender.
While the time does fly, Boyar isn’t putting any pressure on herself to duplicate the numbers she had last year. In fact, she has already forgotten about last season. While it’s fun to talk about, last season was last season.
As soon as the season ended, Boyar turned the page and got ready for this year.
“I feel like as you get here as a freshmen, your senior year is looming in front of you, you just never believe it will actually come. Looking ahead is something I try not to do. It’s more of a one day at a time process for me. Soccer has been an integral part of my life since I was 4 years old, so I can imagine that playing in my final season and games will be emotional for numerous reasons. I am excited for our season and playing with this great group of girls again, stated Boyar. “There’s always pressure and it’s just something as an athlete that you need to learn how to cope with. I understand my roll on this team, and I love it, but even when things don’t go my way, I have 20 plus girls and my coaches/trainers are right there with me doing their part and playing to the best of their ability.”
You could say that Boyar recently started a trend for local soccer talent staying in Western New York. While the Williamsville South product wasn’t intending on player her college soccer down the street from where she played at in high school, Boyar showed that you could have success if you stayed home and play.
If you look at the roster, there are a number of players from local high school they could have easily went on to play at other Division II schools. These players come with a strong pedigree as most have played for the Western New York Flash, the premier travel team in the area.
“Staying home was never part of my plan, but it worked out wonderfully. While a number of the girls are local, I have met and made friends from all over the world,” stated Boyar. “Playing soccer with and against such a diverse group made my dream of playing college soccer all that much better.”