Light leaves Italy for Baker to continue playing soccer

Story by Kyle Davis

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There is something to be said for people who will go to great lengths for something that they enjoy. Junior women’s soccer player Tracy Light has done just that.

Light, who grew up in Naples, Italy, has lived half her life overseas, growing up in a military family. She came to the United States, and more specifically to Baker, to play soccer.

“Soccer has taught me to be passionate about things with life,” Light said. “It is what I base life on and it has taught me to work hard no matter what.”

Although Light grew up in Italy, she was born in the Philippines and came to America when she was two, before moving to Italy when she was nine. Light went to Naples American High School, but still tried to blend in to the Italian style in terms of dress and the language.

Soccer was not Light’s first passion. She started her athletic career in gymnastics and later switched to soccer, falling in love with the sport in the sixth grade.

“My parents were always behind me 100 percent,” Light said. “They have supported me with everything I ever did.”

Anyone who does not like traveling long distances for away games should be glad they do not play in Italy. When Light played, they would leave on Friday morning for games on Saturday. The closest school that Naples played was Rome, which was four hours away, and the farthest was a 24-hour trip by Greyhound bus.

“We would get to sightsee in the mornings everywhere we went,” Light said. “It gave us a feel for Italy with all the history and travel.”

Light tried playing club soccer, but women did not really play club soccer in Southern Italy. She also played in different tournaments and camps for the Olympic Development Program in Europe before coming to Baker.

“She works really hard,” freshman Christine Janssens said. “When she gets on the field her hard work is contagious.”

Light is one of six juniors on a team that is mostly made up of freshmen and sophomores and only one senior. As Baker heads into conference play, she hopes the team can continue to build on being a great team with high aspirations.

“She is great to have around,” head coach Nate Houser said. “She works hard and always does her best, has a positive energy and definitely leads by example.”

Light said one of her roles as an upperclassman is trying to bring the team together as a family and bring encouragement.

“She keeps everyone in high spirits whether the game is going well or bad,” Janssens said.

Along with soccer, this is Light’s second year as a Resident Assistant for Gessner Hall. She said it made her grow up a little faster because she had to be there for her residents.

After college Light plans to go back overseas and wants to be a teacher for the Department of Defense Schools. She would also like to coach soccer and be able to travel.

“Tracy has great knowledge of the game,” Houser said. “She would be a great coach or would be great in any role she chose.”

Although Light really enjoyed growing up overseas, especially Italy, she is appreciating her time at Baker.

“The Baker soccer team has been like a family to me,” she said. “As a freshman, and having my family so far away, the team accepted me. It is important to find a place, and this is an important part of my soccer career.”

of freshmen and sophomores and only one senior. As Baker heads into conference play, she hopes the team can continue to build on being a great team with high aspirations.

“She is great to have around,” head coach Nate Houser said. “She works hard and always does her best, has a positive energy and definitely leads by example.”

This is Light’s second year as a Resident Assistant for Gessner Hall. She said it made her grow up a little faster because she had to be there for her residents.

After college Light plans to go back overseas and wants to be a teacher for the Department of Defense Schools. She would also like to coach soccer and travel.

“Tracy has great knowledge of the game,” Houser said. “She would be a great coach or would be great in any role she chose.”

Next up, Light and the Wildcats will face off against McKendree University at 2 p.m. Sunday at North Park.