MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - For West Virginia student-athletes, finding the time to balance academics and athletics can be a challenging one. For women’s soccer’s Ali Connelly
, however, she’s made it a priority to do just that and more.
Connelly was recognized at last week’s WVU Student-Athlete Academic Excellence Banquet for her commitment to community service, receiving the 2012-13 Female Student-Athlete Community Service Outreach Award.
“Nikki (Izzo-Brown) constantly talks about giving back and this is something that I enjoy doing,” said Connelly, a South Bend, Ind., native. “I know how much the community supports our program, so I try to volunteer whenever I can. It’s important to make the effort, whether it’s lending a hand or simply putting a smile on someone’s face.”
Connelly strung together an impressive list of community service hours this school year, displaying her commitment away from the soccer field. She could be found visiting patients at WVU Children’s Hospital or at Suncrest Middle School working with different math classes.
A pre-elementary education major, Connelly, and teammate Kara Blosser
, are women’s soccer representatives on WVU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Connelly took part in various outreach activities across campus, including face painting before gymnastics and women’s basketball games.
Connelly was an active participant in the team’s annual 4-versus-4 fundraiser to raises funds for the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center at WVU’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. Heading into this spring, the WVU women’s soccer team has raised more than $85,000 over the past nine years to help fight breast cancer.
She also volunteered after the season with the popular Soccer School of Excellence program – a three-week stretch of camp for youth soccer players to sharpen their skills. Connelly could be found giving her time with free clinics at St. Francis de Sales and at the recreation field outside of Towers residence hall.
Each Friday this semester, Connelly has been a volunteer at the child development center inside WVU Children’s Hospital where she interacts with 3- and 4-year olds.
And just a sophomore, don’t be surprised to see Connelly for another two years around the community lending a hand.