Danielle McCarthy (2013) was a standout soccer player at Inderkum High School, garnering ‘Athlete of the Year’ her senior year. She also was a cheerleader and was just as passionate about dance as she was about soccer. She went on to play soccer at Menlo College (still the record holder for most goals scored (78) in a career), and she also became part of the Menlo Dance team.
Graduating with a degree in Business & Sport Management (2017), she became an Athletic Event Manager for Stanford Athletics. While working at Stanford, she auditioned and was chosen to be an Oakland Raider ‘Raiderette’ for the 2019 season. She recently moved to Washington DC to work in client relations for a network streaming service.
Reflecting on her high school years, she lit up talking about her teammates, who she lovingly called her ‘sisters.’ They were her friends, who she relied on both on and off the field. She said it is the little things she misses the most, in the halls between classes, homecoming, driving and getting her first car, bus rides. “You take for granted all those first times, the experiences.”
Danielle felt very prepared for college, her mom came from a military background, and she was determined to teach her how to do laundry, cook simple meals, and especially be a good student. Academically she was strong, and she felt her AP teachers at Inderkum helped prepare her for the rigors of college. Doing your homework and getting good grades was always stressed in her home and the ‘Student’ part of Student Athlete was the most important.
Her advice to those still in high school: “Dream big and don’t let anyone say you can’t do it.” Playing a sport in college and being part of the dance team was unheard of, but she was undeterred. She looked at the schedules and knew it could work. Both were her passion, and she was determined to excel in both. (and she did!)
Final thoughts: “You have to work hard, to show up with energy and believe you can accomplish anything – and that sometimes no just means – not now – or sometimes it can be a good redirection.” Also, yes, D1 is amazing, but so is D2 or NAIA – even starting at a JC can be great. When looking at programs, you need to consider all the factors and make the best decision for you, not anyone else.