Athlete leads both on field, in class

Erin Gfeller, junior midfielder, joined the soccer team after being invited by her friend, Jessica Buhman.

Erin Gfeller, junior midfielder, joined the soccer team after being invited by her friend, Jessica Buhman.

Auriel Brown

Her teammates call her “G.”

Erin Gfeller is more than a soccer player. To some, she is considered a role model and an excellent collegian.

The junior accounting major and women’s soccer team captain, initially came to Missouri Southern as a softball player. Having played softball her freshman and sophomore year, it was the work of an old teammate, and now good friend, which contributed to the Gfeller’s joining the program.

“Jessica Buhman – we played club soccer in Kansas City together and she talked to Coach Wachsman about me,” Gfeller said. “I came to an open practice in the spring, and he invited me to play my sophomore year, and I was really fortunate to get that opportunity.”

Trevor Wachsman, head women’s soccer coach, said Gfeller brings great attributes to the team.

“She’s willing to do whatever it takes to make her team better,” Wachsman said. “Sometimes it even means acknowledging when she is not at her best.”

Gfeller said, being a veteran on the team, she has accepted the leadership role.

“I think that my role is to help the younger players and guide them through their first year,” she said.

Wachsman said Gfeller’s desire to continue learning can be beneficial to the other players.

“She’s very hungry for knowledge whether that be in the classroom or on the field,” Wachsman said.

When not competing Gfeller is also a part of the honors program. For her, academics has always been a priority.

Dr. Pat Kluthe, director of the honors program, said she was impressed by Gfeller’s credentials and her confidence.

“Not only did she qualify for the honors program, her credentials were above the average,” Kluthe said. “Erin has all the right stuff in my opinion.”

Kluthe said while Gfeller understands the difficulty of athletics and academics, time management is the key.

“I think a lot of my motivation is internal, and I know what I want to accomplish,” Gfeller said. “I try to find a way to balance everything, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Gfeller’s motto is a quote by Olympian Steve Prefontaine – “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

While Gfeller said she is not sure what the future holds for her, one thing she will appreciate the most about her experience at Southern is the friendships she has made with her teammates.

“I can’t imagine going through college and not meeting these people,” she said.