Fourth-year Nicole Mullen recently concluded her collegiate career on the soccer field, having made a lasting impact on women’s soccer at UChicago for years to come.
In her senior season, Mullen was named NSCAA Second-Team All-Region and was First Team All-UAA. As a captain alongside fellow fourth-year Bethany Robinson, she led the squad to a 13–7 overall record this past season.
Starting all 20 games in the midfield, Mullen was a key component in a strong defensive unit in her senior campaign. She contributed to the defense’s 10 shutouts on the season and an impressive 0.84 goals against average on the season. Offensively, she tallied two goals and two assists in her fourth year.
Despite these honors and impressive statistics, Mullen says what she will remember most is the relationships she formed as a student-athlete.
“For me, what I will remember most about my athletic career at UChicago is my team,” she said. “It’s impossible to pinpoint one memory or time that was the best because, as cheesy as it sounds, they were my family. They were the ones who saw me at my best and my worst and loved me anyways. Being a part of a team is a gift, and I am so lucky to have spent the last four years fighting alongside the most inspirational women I know.”
As much as these relationships have meant to Mullen, she has had an impact on her teammates in ways that she may not even realize. In her fourth-year season, Mullen served as captain to a team with 11 first-years. Similarly, in her third-year season, the team had 10 new first-years. As an upperclassman and leader to these younger athletes, Mullen has certainly left an impression on this program for years to come.
“Nicole is an incredible role model for me, not only in soccer but also in life," second-year defender Whitley Cargile said. “She is an incredibly hard worker and determined to succeed in everything she does. As a captain, she united the team through her ability to lead by example. She knew when to be light-hearted and funny, and when it was time to be serious.”
Yet Mullen’s drive extends far beyond the soccer pitch. She is involved in a local tutoring program called STARS. Additionally, she is involved in Greek life as a member of Delta Gamma, in which she has held important leadership positions. Additionally, she works in admissions as a senior interviewer, highlighting her impact on this campus as a whole.
A Dean’s List biological sciences major, the future should have a lot to hold for Mullen.
“I have not completely solidified what I am exactly doing after graduation yet, but I’m primarily looking into some sort of public service such as teaching or marine biology. Fingers crossed it all works out."
With three months under her belt since her last game in a UChicago jersey, Mullen has had time to reflect on her experience as a student-athlete at UChicago. She leaves a piece of advice for the student-athletes she leaves behind.
“I would say to go out and support the other teams and get involved, of course, but most importantly to remember why you love your sport. Four years go by pretty quickly and spending them doing anything less than what you love or what makes you happy is a waste of your time.”
This advice seems fitting because it embodies exactly how she will be remembered on this campus: by hard work and a passion for her sport. While Mullen is sad to say goodbye to her life as a student-athlete, UChicago Athletics is arguably even sadder to see her go.