Student Profile: Senior Nicole Whitley

Lindsey Golotko, Editor

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To say Nicole Whitley is a soccer superstar would be an understatement. In just this past year, Whitley committed to playing Division I soccer at Rutgers University, earned an invitation to the prestigious All-American soccer game for high school students, and led her school team in winning the first ever state championship title. Whitley’s accomplishments can be attributed to her determination, dedication, and enthusiasm involving this sport. Recently, the Patriot Press was able to talk to Whitley about her amazing year and what is to come in the future.


Committing to a college is an experience unlike any other. What made you choose Rutgers over other schools?

During the recruiting process, I knew that I needed to pick a place that I would be able to happily call my home for 4 years. I needed somewhere that I felt comfortable with, safe, and close enough to home. While trying to choose a school, I had to go through the pros and cons for every school based on soccer, academics, and overall experience with the school. I chose Rutgers because my club soccer coaches (club soccer is soccer outside of school) are also the Rutgers coaches, so I feel comfortable with the, and also because Rutgers has an amazing soccer program. I also chose Rutgers because my best friends are also committed there to play soccer, it is close enough to home, and is a great school academically.


Recently, you earned an invitation to the All-American game for high school students. How did you feel when you heard the news? What makes this game such an honor?

When I heard the news that I was selected for this game, I was ecstatic. I knew I had already been a candidate for this game, but never actually believed being selected was possible. Being selected for this game is such an honor because it means you are considered one of the best players in the nation. There is only a certain amount of players that were given this honor, and I could not be any more happy to be one of them.

Your school team has been doing so well this year; what do you attribute this to?

I think that our team has been so successful this season is because of our amazing coaching staff and each and every girl’s mentality to win. It is hard to come across a team that has very talented individuals but play together as a team. Each girl on the team plays for one another day in and day out, and that is why we were able to make history. All our handwork throughout the summer and into the season has allowed us to surpass all the challenges we faced this season. Having an amazing group of girls who are friends on and off the field is one thing. Having an amazing group of girls who are friends on and off the field who want to win anything and everything is another.


How did it feel to become apart of the first girls soccer team in program history to win the Central Jersey Group IV sectional title?

It was a feeling like no other. Being down 2-0 in the first half and coming back to win by scoring 3 goals in the second half just describes how much we deserved to win it. We made history and finally won the school’s first ever sectional championship and now are CO-State champions for group IV. It is just so surreal how far we made it, and making history is just the icing on the cake.


How does it feel to know the whole school is rooting for you? How does it feel to have the “bleacher creatures” at every game?

Having the support from the whole school and knowing that everyone is hoping for you to do well is just an awesome feeling. It is what drives the team to win everything we can because we do not want to disappoint the fans. People coming out of their way and taking time out of their days to come support the girls soccer team is just amazing and we were so grateful to have that this season. The “bleacher creatures” really motivate us to do well and pump us up in the game by constantly encouraging us.


What do you attribute all of your success to? Is there a person or event you can link it to?

I do not attribute all of my success to one specific event or person, but rather many things. First goes to my parents. Without them constantly supporting me day in and out and driving me to my soccer practices an hour away for all these years, I would not have grown to the payer I am today. Also to my coaches and teammates, without them I would have no one push me to settle for nothing less than my best whether it is coaches and teammates inside and outside of school. Both have shaped me to be the player and person I am today. Even though I have accomplished many things in my career, my success is not over yet. I am not satisfied for what I have already accomplished and hope to strive for more success in the future.


What is your number one advice to underclassmen coming in and looking to get involved?

My advice would be to get involved in things that you want to do no matter what it is. If you want to do something, the only regret you will have is not going after it. Getting involved allows you to make new friends and memories, but also will pay off in the future. Involving yourself with people and things you like will allow you to enjoy yourself, and especially your time at Freehold Township. Getting involved throughout my time here at FTHS was the best decision I ever made. It is what shaped my four years here at Township and I cannot imagine

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