Drexel goalkeeper Miyuki Schoyen was presented with a video before her first game last season. What came across the screen surprised her.

Schoyen, who was struggling with confidence on the field after a season-ending injury in 2018, saw her coaches and training friends showing their support and was touched by their statements. She felt gratitude for Christiana Ogunsami, who put the video together in her new role as an assistant soccer coach and mental performance expert at Drexel.

“That really meant a lot that she went out of her way to do that,” said Schoyen, who is now a redshirt junior and Drexel’s starting goalkeeper. “She just really cares about every player on the team and it shows. It really makes a difference. I don’t think the team would be the same without her.”

Ogunsami was a two-time All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team selection and the 2016 co-defensive player of the year during her career as a goalkeeper at Drexel. She is also a goalkeeper coach and mental performance expert at the Keeper Institute, a South Jersey goalkeeper facility that trains players from age 7 up to the professional level.

Now in her second season on the Drexel coaching staff, Ogunsami helps her players as their “emotional human support system.”

Ogunsami communicates with the athletes one-on-one to discuss behavioral and other problems that occur off the field that may impact performance.

“Sports culture doesn’t really teach you how to deal with failure or deal with pressure; they just tell you to deal with it,” Ogunsami said. “You’ve got these college students trying to figure out what life is now that they’re not with their parents anymore.

“Then you throw in competitive athletics. This can impact athletic performance and general experience while they’re here.”

Schoyen, who has 53 saves with two conference games left this season, looks to Ogunsami as a mentor.

Their relationship began when Schoyen was in high school in Salisbury, Md. She first saw Ogunsami playing in goal at a 2017 Drexel-Maryland game and Schoyen wanted to be like her.

Schoyen committed to Drexel in 2018 but suffered a season-ending injury that left a mark on her mentally. Ogunsami stepped in to help even before she was a coach at Drexel.

“[Ogunsami] met with me throughout the season about once every other week to talk to me,” Schoyen said. “She worked with me on how to be mentally strong when she barely even knew who I was.”

Schoyen said Ogunsami helped her through her injury with a lot of mental training.

“I had a lot of trouble with confidence and she really helped me gain that back in myself and know that I can perform,” Schoyen said. “That’s been a huge part of my game, having her there with me for all four years as a mentor, as an idol, and as a coach.”

» READ MORE: Netherlands field hockey legacy thriving at Drexel and throughout City 6

Ogunsami, who is working toward her master’s degree in clinical psychology at West Chester, didn’t develop a passion for sports psychology until late in college.

She was a pre-med student during her first two years, at Vanderbilt, and had thoughts of becoming a surgeon. After taking a few psychology courses and receiving more guidance from the school’s sports psychiatrist, Ogunsami transferred to Drexel in 2016 and became a psychology major.

Drexel head coach Ray Goon said Ogunsami’s background in sports psychology has helped in her role as a coach.

“You’re always looking for different ways to get a message across, and with her background in sport psychology she just has a different view of how to get the same messages across to different personalities,” Goon said. “She’s a very well-balanced individual. She balances out the athletic, academic, and the personal life side.”

Ogunsami said working on mental performance is important to an athlete’s success on the field as well.

“Athletes walk on to the field with their entire selves,” Ogunsami said. “Coaches often are like, ‘Hey, leave whatever is going on off the field, off’ and that’s not realistic at all.

“The game is going to tell you, ‘You suck,’ every day, so let’s restructure that so it’s not going to impact your performance anymore.”

Ogunsami said every athlete is different in terms of managing their mental performance. Some players need to laugh on the field when they’re stressed. When she notices this in some of her current players, a random phrase — “berries and cream” — seems to calm them down. Ogunsami doesn’t understand why, but it works.

Ogunsami looks forward to continuing this type of work in sports psychology after getting her master’s.

“I want to teach people how you can be a more well-adjusted human being, so then you can be a more well-adjusted adult in your respective area,” she said. “That’s my goal.”