A Philadelphia native hailing from Central Bucks East High School in Doylestown, Emma Loving played varsity soccer for four years at East and served as a team captain. In 2015, she was the Inquirer girls' soccer player of the year.
Now a junior at Penn, Loving, 20, recently talked about her college recruiting experiences.
Was your recruiting experience positive or were there some ups and downs in the process?
I started recruiting very early as a freshman in high school. It's crazy looking back because as a freshman you barely know anything about where you want to go to college or what you want to do with your life. I initially looked at other Ivy League schools and their soccer programs, but it came down to Rutgers and Penn. I originally did not want to go far from home and did not want to be in a city. But now I love it because my family and old coaches are close by and can come watch me play. In the end, I chose Penn because I loved the coaches, the campus, and the team. I knew it was the right fit.
Overall, my recruiting experience was a good one. I also looked at [Virginia], and their soccer coaches were phenomenal. When I was being recruited by Penn it was under a different coaching staff, and I had a good personal relationship with them. I committed to Penn sophomore year, and this coaching staff left junior spring.
Why did you choose Penn over other schools that could give you a sports scholarship?
I loved Rutgers. The soccer there was phenomenal, but I honestly did not see myself there other than for soccer. People always told me to love the school as much as the soccer program in case I was unable to play soccer at some point, and Rutgers was not that school for me. Penn had super competitive soccer and offered a great education, and I knew I wanted to be there."
Since you committed in high school before most other students knew where they were going to college, how did that feel and how did it affect your high school experience?
It was a very weird feeling. By March of sophomore year I was already committed. I was lucky to go through it so early because it was a weight lifted off my shoulders. I realized as a senior that it was such a big decision for other people, and it was a relief to know where I was going.
How was your high school soccer experience versus your collegiate experience? Does your Penn soccer experience live up to your initial expectations?
Collegiate soccer is not like high school soccer in most ways. But in some ways they are similar. I wasn't completely on varsity my freshman year [at Central Bucks East]. In college, you need to rise to the occasion. I was the leading scorer my freshman year [at Penn], but I got injured at the end of my freshman year. Going into sophomore year I got surgery but was cleared before the season started, so fortunately I did not miss too much. My experience has exceeded my expectations, especially the school itself. I love the team, but I also love the people outside of the athletic community. The coaching switch I experienced was different and unexpected, but it was a good different. I think it was a change that reflected well on the program. Overall, I am very happy to be here.