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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Ain?t nothin? gonna break her stride

By Matt Sanchez

When you first sit down with Erin Dalley, you’ll know two things for sure8212;based on the amount of ice she has packed on her body, she really does take practice seriously, and when she opens her mouth, it’s clear that she’s not your stereotypical jock.

As soon as she was old enough to run, Dalley wasted no time perfecting her athletic skill. She could be found in the driveway shooting free throws or on a local soccer field with the neighborhood kids.

Today, she’s a standout forward on Utah’s women’s soccer team, but her journey has been filled with heartbreak, laughter and success.

She has an affinity for basketball that would impress even the biggest lover of the game. Dalley was a stellar basketball player for Viewmont High School and was a state honorable mention as a senior.

She smiles when she talks about basketball and still plays as often as time will allow. In fact, the soccer team has seven former high school players who get together and play.
“I’m definitely not the best player, but I was a point guard and love to make things happen,” Dalley said.

The many hours spent running after a basketball and soccer ball led Dalley to run track. Even though her name is among the fastest sprinters of all time in Utah high school history, she was never fond of the sport.

“I ran track in high school, but I hated the whole individual thing,” she said. “Sure, it was fun at times, but there was too much alone time and no team atmosphere.”

She’s an impressive all-around athlete, but the Centerville native would rather play soccer than anything else.

“Soccer was always first, and everything else was a distant second,” Dalley said. “I love how aggressive it is. You don’t run a lot of plays in soccer, and you just rely on your skills to break your opponent down, and I love that.”

Before she came to the U, Dalley was a two-time first-team All-State selection at Viewmont and led the team in goals scored for three consecutive seasons. She was a feared offensive player and had 75 goals and 19 assists during her high-school career.

Dalley was an avid BYU fan and her decision to attend the U was not easy. Dalley said her parents and four siblings all graduated from BYU and are hard-core supporters of the school.

“I’ll say this once, we were BYU fans,” said her father, Robert Dalley. “Now, we are Utes. Utah was the right place for her, and the coaches, program and university have impressed us.”

Dalley scored three goals and assisted on another while starting in every game as a freshman at the U. She was a promising young player, but the summer before her sophomore year, she was playing for an amateur team when her career took an unexpected turn.

“On a break, a through ball was played to me, and the keeper ran out of the box,” she said. “We collided, and my knee popped back in the other direction. It was such an awful feeling, and I was in shock and didn’t know what to do.”
Dalley had torn her ACL, MCL and meniscus in her knee, an injury from which most people never recover.
Dalley’s rehabilitation process was long and strenuous, but she never lost sight of her ultimate goal8212;getting back on the field.

“I knew my soccer career wasn’t done, and there were things I wanted to accomplish,” Dalley said.

Being on the sidelines for the entire 2008 season was not easy, but it helped her build a strong rapport with her team. She saw herself as another coach on the bench and was able to focus on how she could help every player.

“It was hard to be out, but it’s all about attitude,” Dalley said. “I knew I could lift the team up through words, so that’s what I did.”

Dalley has come back strong and made a big impact on the 2009 soccer team. She is tied on the team with five goals and has helped the Utes to another successful season.
“Erin’s injury was serious, and she worked very hard to get back on the field,” said head coach Rich Manning. “She has done such a good job and has shaken off the rust to get back to her old self. We’re lucky to have her on the team.”

If you ever ask people what they think of Dalley, a grin will undoubtedly appear on their face. Maybe her love of “Tommy Boy” has had an effect on her, or perhaps it’s the fact that she would like to be best friends with fictitious character Dwight Schrute from “The Office,” but her witty personality could make Oscar the Grouch giggle.

“Erin is awesome,” said teammate Lauren Hair. “She is so funny, always keeps the mood light and knows how to motivate all of us. We are really close and even though we are together all day, we never get sick of each other. She is the best friend and teammate anyone could ask for.”

Dalley does have her serious side and knows the importance of a good education. She has been nominated for her second academic All-American team for her work in the classroom.
“I think school is very important, so I take it seriously,” Dalley said. “I think I want to get a master’s in accounting. I would love to keep playing soccer, but I need to be prepared to have a real job after college.”

Dalley, a redshirt sophomore in accounting, said she wants to work in the sporting world when she is done with college, perhaps for her favorite team, the Utah Jazz.

“I’m excited for her to learn and progress from sports into the real world,” Robert Dalley said. “Success and failure in sports is much the same in real life, and I know Erin is on the right track.”

In between telling jokes and watching SportsCenter, Dalley is leading the soccer team into its 11th consecutive Mountain West Conference Tournament starting Wednesday.

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