Georgia athletics usually thrives off in-state recruiting.
But the Georgia soccer team has been getting its players from other sources.
The team has 15 players from Georgia and 14 from elsewhere, which means 48 percent are out-of-state players.
In that regard, the soccer team doubles the baseball team, which has 24 percent (10 out-of-state, 31 in-state).
The Georgia soccer team has members from California, Wyoming, New York and even Nigeria.
“Well our task is to get the best players in the country to come to Georgia,” Georgia head coach Steve Holeman said. “Our first look is always in-state, and Atlanta is a hot bed of talent, and we always look in-state first. Obviously there are other good players outside the state of Georgia. We usually see them in tournaments or club select tournaments.”
Freshman defender Tori Patterson from Yorktown Heights, N.Y., discovered Georgia while playing a tournament.
“I had never heard of this school until I started going to tournaments, and they started recruiting me really hard,” she said. “I came to visit and I loved it.”
Yet, coming to school in the South from out of state is not always easy.
Redshirt freshman goaltender Kathleen Eastman came to Georgia from Jackson Hole, Wyo., a small town.
Transitioning from a town with only one high school to Georgia was jarring.
“I wanted something different than Wyoming and Georgia is definitely that,” Eastman said. “At first I was like ‘it’s not going to be that different, it’s still in the United States’, but I definitely had culture shock. The food is different. A lot of fried food. I had never seen okra before, or grits.”
While the South was different for Patterson, she was surprised by its friendliness.
“They are really welcoming and anyone will just come up to you and talk to you,” Patterson said. “I like that a lot.”
Holeman, an out-of-state man himself after having graduated from Wake Forest in 1990, agreed with Patterson.
“The players that come here, you’re coming South, and when you come South it is always easier because of southern hospitality,” he said. “It’s friendly down here. The people are fantastic.”
While the southern hospitality may be great, Eastman’s teammates can be a little less friendly. She said her teammates heckle her for being out-of-state.
“They give me crap all the time,” she said. “They are like ‘did you ride your elk here’ or ‘where is your horse’, or ‘of course you would say that’. Just making fun of me because I live in the middle of no where.”
Patterson said she hasn’t experienced as much jeering from her teammates because she does not have a New York accent, but she has heard it from her mom.
The freshman said she sent a text to her mom and asked “When are ya’ll coming down?”
It was the first time Patterson’s mother had heard her say, “y’all.”
The southern mannerisms have worn on Eastman as well.
“I say ya’ll now, they trained me to say that,” she said. “I kind of catch myself with a southern twang at times, but I like the hospitality.”