Summer Connery first played soccer at six years old, but she didn’t expect to like it.
“When my dad asked me if I wanted to start playing soccer, I was lukewarm to the idea,” she remembered. “Despite this, I still ended up joining a rec team that my dad coached—and I had a blast. From the first day, I loved it.”
She’s good at it too: since those early days on the field, Summer has played on a variety of teams, including the Utah Avalanche (club soccer), the Utah Olympic Development Program (ODP) state team, and the 2020 ODP West Region Costa Rica team. During her four-year career as a Winged Lion, Summer helped the Rowland Hall girls soccer team claim four Region Championships and three State Championships, set a school record of 112 career goals, and amassed an impressive list of achievements, including 2021 Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) Academic All-State, 2020 Deseret News 2A MVP, a 2019 KUTV Prep of the Week, 2019 UHSAA 2A Leading Scorer, 2018 UHSAA State Assist Leader (all classifications), three-time MaxPreps Player of the Week, three-time member of First Team All-State, and a member of the 2021 West Girls All-America Game team. And though her high school soccer career is ending, Summer isn’t yet done with her journey as a student-athlete: on November 10, she signed the National Letter of Intent to play Division 1 soccer at Colgate University, one of her top college picks.
“It was a dream come true to know that a school I loved wanted me to come play soccer for them,” said Summer.
Division 1 schools offer the highest level of intercollegiate sports sanctioned by the NCAA, which will challenge Summer in new and exciting ways.
“Summer is a competitor; she will never settle or coast,” said Colette Smith, Rowland Hall girls soccer head coach. “Summer has been the type of player that works hard on her own and is constantly rallying her teammates to work with her. She evolved so much the past two years as a leader and as a soccer player. I am truly so excited to see what she does at the collegiate level. I know the attributes she shows on the soccer field will also help her in her future endeavors.”
To celebrate her decision to play at Colgate, we asked Summer to answer a few questions about her love of soccer and what she’s looking forward to as a D1 college athlete. The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Colgate was one of your top college choices, and not only because of its fantastic soccer program. Tell us about your interest in the school.
I always knew that I wanted to play D1 soccer in college, but equally important to me was finding an institution that valued academics just as much. I had a pool of schools I was interested in, and Colgate stood out as the perfect fit.
How did it feel to commit to playing D1 soccer at Colgate next year?
It was an incredible feeling because it was me officially signing to do what I love, in a place that I love, for the next four years. It was so amazing to think about all that I have gone through to get to this point, and it was a very rewarding feeling and celebration.
You’ve played soccer since you were six years old, and you mentioned that you loved it from day one. Is there a moment that especially stands out in your relationship with the sport?
I think I really, truly fell in soccer when my club team at the time, Black Diamond Soccer Club, won the Sparta Cup in 2013. We started off the tournament with a bad 7-2 loss to a team called Chaos. We got better as the tournament went on and came to meet Chaos again, this time in the finals. We then beat Chaos 4-2 in the finals and we got what I called “the biggest trophy ever.” I remember feeling such great happiness and pride knowing that we worked so hard as a team to overcome the hurdles we faced early in the tournament. It was a great team reward and win in our first tournament as a team.
You've had a successful career at Rowland Hall, including winning three state championships and being recognized as a Prep of the Week in 2019 and the state 2A MVP in 2020. What moment as a Winged Lion are you most proud of?
The moment as a Winged Lion that I am most proud of was in the 2019 finals, when we beat Real Salt Lake Academy in PKs [penalty kicks]. We were down 0-1 at the half, but we knew we weren’t out of it. I scored the tying goal and the winning PK, but it was so much bigger of an accomplishment than any two goals. I was so proud of our team and of our comeback. We could all feel that we were playing well and showed such grit on the field, and then, of course, the shootout required us all to be calm under pressure. It was a roller coaster of emotions throughout the game but I wouldn’t have it any other way because it made the victory that much sweeter.
Tell us about the skills you built at Rowland Hall, both on and off the field, that you'll be taking with you to Colgate.
In terms of off the field, the academics and teachers at Rowland Hall are so incredible and I know that organization and analytical skills I am learning will aid my academic journey at a place like Colgate. In terms of on the field, I have learned so many leadership skills from upperclassmen and coaches, and I am excited to contribute those to the Colgate soccer team and community.