Former TUHS soccer player Bethany Fitzsimmons now plays for Northridge
Eight months ago former Taft High soccer player Bethany Fitzsimmons was wrapping up her high school career, breaking records when it came to goals being scored and leading the Lady Wildcats to the playoffs.
Now, Fitzsimmons is adapting to a new setup and a new climb up the ladder as she begins her freshman year competing for the Division I Cal State Northridge women’s soccer team.
“It’s a huge change from Taft,” said Fitzsimmons. “It’s a big change but the girls are welcoming. It’s really exciting to come and meet new people.”
Despite only being a freshman for the Lady Matadors, Fitzsimmons has already made an impact on the team.
“She has meant a lot to the team,” said Matadors head coach Keith West. “She's doing great off the bench, continuing what the starters are doing. She's definitely made an impact on our group.”
Fitzsimmons is one of only two freshmen this season who travel with the team to different matches around the country to places like Portland, Oregon, Oregon State, San Diego, Marquette and Loyola Chicago.
“It’s an honor getting the opportunity to travel, it’s really cool,” said Fitzsimmons.
Out of the places that she has traveled with the team, one of those places that stood out to her was Oregon.
“Oregon was really, really beautiful,” she said. “I really liked it.”
So far this season, Fitzsimmons has played in 15 matches and has started in only one of them. She has had 16 shots and has scored a goal according to gomatadors.com
That lone goal came five matches into the season when the goal she scored was the game winner at home against Ball State.
“At first I didn’t know it went in,” Fitzsimmons said of the game winner. “I really didn’t believe I scored the goal, so its cool.”
Fitzsimmons has also followed a veteran, starting forward on the Matadors team in order to get better.
“I watch her a lot when she plays,” she said.
One of the adjustments Fitzsimmons had to make from Taft to Cal State Northridge was the amount of people with 38,310 students on the campus according to www.csun.edu
“For me its getting to used to being around so many people, not being around friends and family,” she said.
Another change Fitzsimmons had to adapt to was the size of the campus with five story buildings. According to Fitzsimmons, it took her awhile to figure everything out.
“The campus is so big here,” she said.
In terms of soccer one of the adjustments Fitzsimmons had to make was the level of soccer.
“It’s been really tough because it’s a higher level of soccer,” she said.
Even though she has not even completed a full season yet, Fitzsimmons feels she has gotten better at her game.
“I am getting a lot better at my skill work,” she said.
At the same time, Fitzsimmons says she and the rest of her teammates have developed a bond.
“We’re like a big family,” she said. “We’re like a bunch of sisters.”
Another transition Fitzsimmons had to make was going from starter for the Lady Wildcats to sub for the Lady Matadors. Yet, Fitzsimmons doesn’t mind coming in as a sub.
“I am just happy to be playing at all,” she said.
Fitzsimmons prepared for playing for the Cal State Northridge team by playing for the South Valley Thunder over the summer and going to showcase events. She also put in the work when she was not playing like when Fitzsimmons was working at the Rec and was just messing around with the ball.
Over the next three years, Fitzsimmons goals are to get better as a player and as a student.
Right now Fitzsimmons takes two classes a day after practice.
Looking down the line West feels that Fitzsimmons is going to help the team.
“I think this kids' going to be great for us,” he said.
One of the things that has made the transition to college soccer easier for Fitzsimmons is the program that Cal State Northridge has for their athletes.
“They really have a great program,” said Fitzsimmons. “CSUN is very good about supporting their student athletes like that.”