Concussion ends UR soccer phenom Becca Wann’s career

Wann’s career ends abruptly after medical staff deems play unsafe.

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Update #3 — September 4, 2013; 6:54 AM


University of Richmond soccer player Becca Wann will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a concussion on August 23rd during a match against James Madison. Because Wann has sustained multiple concussions in the past, UR’s medical staff believes it’s in the senior’s best interest that she not play soccer this year, thereby ending her soccer career at the university. You can read more about the decision in the release below.

Wann won a gold medal playing with the Women’s National Team at the 2012 FIFA U20 World Cup in Japan last fall. She’s the first Spider to be named the A-10 Rookie of the Year and A-10 Offensive Player of the Year.

University of Richmond women’s soccer coach Peter Albright announced Tuesday that senior All-American forward Becca Wann will miss the remainder of the soccer season after suffering a concussion during a season-opening tournament at James Madison.

Due to her history of multiple concussions, the Richmond medical staff deemed it in the best interest for Wann to miss the remainder of the season because of the nature of play and her position.

“Becca is a unique and remarkable athlete,” said Albright. “She has a game-changing presence in every competitive moment. It has been a privilege to be a part of her story. We will miss her contributions on the field, but I am proud of our decision to put Becca’s health and future first.”

The Richmond medical staff is planning to allow Wann to participate in her senior year of basketball due to the significantly lower risk of a repeat concussion.

“I have been beyond blessed with my career as a soccer player at the University of Richmond,” said Wann. “Although this is a difficult thing to swallow, I know that even in this time God is in control. The support from my coaches, teammates and Richmond community has been incredible. I am looking forward to finishing my senior year with the team.”

Wann’s illustrious career at Richmond includes numerous accolades, most notably winning a gold medal as part of the Women’s National Team at the 2012 FIFA U20 World Cup in Japan last fall. Wann is a NSCAA Division I All-American and an All-Conference selection every year of her career. Wann ranks second all-time in goals (34) and fourth in points (55). She scored a goal in each of the Spiders’ first two contests this season.

Wann was the first-ever Spider to be named the A-10 Rookie of the Year and the A-10 Offensive Player of the Year. The Chesterfield native was named to the prestigious Hermann Watch List as a junior and has led Richmond in goals and points every season.

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Update #3 – December –21st, 7:00 AM

Back in September, Becca Wann joined the US Under-20 Women’s World Cup Championship Team (see post below). But even with soccer season over, she hasn’t given her athletic abilities a breather. Last week, Wann was named the A-10 Player of the Week for her performance on the University of Richmond’s women’s basketball team.

“I felt tremendously blessed,” Wann said by phone last week about the honor. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. I’m just really happy about where our team is sitting.”

In a recent game against the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Wann totaled 19 points, five rebounds, and nine assists. Those assists are not only a career high for Wann, but the most by a Spider since 2009. Despite her personal achievements on the court, Wann said she’s most proud of her teammates. “Every single person is an important part of the team.” The team has now won six of its last eight games.

Wann first started playing soccer at age five. A year later, she started playing basketball. Whether competing on a soccer field, or on a basketball court, Wann said “I have a blast” no matter what. Excelling in one sport is remarkable. Excelling at two is all the more noteworthy.

When asked why she’s been so successful, Wann simply said that “God gave me the ability to play both.” A reason she attended UR was that the University gave her the opportunity to compete in both soccer and basketball while in school. Although her schedule can be “very taxing” as a result, “God has given me the grace and strength to do it.”

Her recent trip to Japan to play on the Under-20 Women’s World Cup team is something “I still get chills thinking about it,” she said. While her on-field play was limited to eight minutes during a match against China, that didn’t diminish the Chesterfield native’s opportunity. “I went in there wanting to be a sponge…learning from 20 of the best players in the country was incredible.”

A short while after returning to the US, the Spiders began their basketball season with an early November win against Longwood. The Spiders are currently 7-5 on the year after losing to the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, 70-62, on Wednesday.

Although successful in two sports, Wann, a junior studying psychology, plans to go into education after she graduates. “Long term, I want to be an elementary school counselor.” But she said “the interest is definitely there” to play either sport in a professional capacity after school.

A newly-created women’s professional soccer league will begin in early 2013, and the thought of playing in the new league is definitely on her mind. “There’s going to be eight teams throughout the country,” Wann said. “Assuming I could get on a team…” she would jump at the chance, “…even for a couple of years.”3

Basketball, on the other hand, is a little different. “I honestly have never considered playing basketball outside of college,” Wann said. With so many possibilities after graduation, Wann doesn’t seem concerned about the future. “I just kinda trust that whatever happens will happen,” she said.

The Spiders next game is Friday, December 28th against the College of Charleston at 7:00 PM, they’ll return home on January 4th to face Navy.

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Update #2 — September 4th, 1:41 PM

Earlier today in Tokyo, the US Under-20 Women’s National Team defeated Nigeria 2-0 at the FIFA World Cup. As a result, the US advances to the title match and will play defending World Cup champions, Germany, on Saturday, September 8th at 6:20 AM (ET). On the team is University of Richmond student, Becca Wann (see below).

The game will be televised live on ESPN3 and ESPNU.

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ORIGINAL

While many eyes will be on the U.S. women’s soccer team as they play Japan on Thursday at 2:45 PM, Becca Wann1 has her eyes set on Japan for a different reason. A student at the University of Richmond, Wann, 19, was recently named to the U-20 women’s national soccer team (players under the age of 20) that will compete in this year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan–just one of 21 chosen from a pool of the nation’s 80 best players. “This whole process has happened so fast,” said Wann of Monday’s announcement. “I was just kind of shocked.”

Wann recalls watching the 1999 World Cup that which culminated in a winning penalty kick by U.S. player Brandi Chastain against China.2 “I always wanted to play in the U.S. uniform on such a big stage” ever since, said Wann.

A Chesterfield native, Wann was accepted at universities across the country, but ultimately decided to stay in her hometown. “I love Richmond,” she said. “It couldn’t be a better fit.” To her delight, UR offered her a scholarship to play soccer (Wann also plays on Spiders’ basketball team). “I’ve always wanted to play basketball and soccer,” she said. UR allowed her to do both. Later this month, she will not take the field as a Spider, but as a representative of her country.

On Friday, Wann travels to Japan where she will train for the country’s first match against Ghana on August 20th. Because she was only recently named to the team, she said “I don’t think the nerves have set in yet.” While nervousness has yet to develop, her anticipation is on overload. “I’m so excited to get there and play.”

Not only will she play in the U-20 World Cup, but she and her teammates are now on the unofficial short list of potential players to represent the US in the 2016 Olympics. However, Wann is just focused on the first game against Ghana. “I just look at the next thing,” said Wann about maintaining focus. “If you look too far in advance you miss what’s in front of you.”

When asked about plans after graduation, Wann said that she wants to teach (she’s majoring in psychology with a minor in education), but she won’t rule out playing soccer should the opportunity emerge. “We’ll just have to see.”

The 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup runs from August 19th through September 8th. The US will play Ghana in Hiroshima on August 20th at 3:00 AM (EST). The team will then play China on August 23rd at 6:00 AM (EST).

Related

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Footnotes

  1. Wann ranks in the top 25 in the nation for points per game (23rd), goals per game (22nd), total points (25th), total goals (24th), game winning goals (8th), and goals per game (13th) . 
  2. Here’s an article about one the players on that winning U.S. team, Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak, who is current a head coach of the VCU women’s soccer team. 
  3. The closest team will be the Washington Spirit located in D.C. 
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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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