DUBOIS, Pa. – There is nothing that can be said to an athlete who has lost a season for a variety of reasons. For 2018 DuBois Area High graduate and Reynoldsville, Pa. native Marissa King, an athlete impacted by a lost soccer season in 2020, her attitude and positive outlook are what make her one of the queens of the pitch for Penn State Beaver women’s soccer.
(Photos Courtesy Penn State Beaver Athletics.)
Going into her senior year of high school, King attended a soccer camp at Edinboro University and was surprised to be approached by former Penn State Beaver women’s soccer coach, Chet Gapczynski, about coming to play for him at Penn State Beaver. Initially surprised by having the chance to possibly play college soccer, King took advantage of the opportunity and committed to play for the Nittany Lions not long after.
“I really liked Beaver because it was a small campus with a convenient location, offered the program I was interested in studying, and also offers great opportunities for their student-athletes. We have some great administrators and coaches who genuinely care about us here at Beaver, and that has helped to make out athletic programs pretty competitive.”
To get ready for the college game, King started taking advantage of some travel soccer opportunities with the Tri-County Vipers for coach Nathan Hughes in addition to her regular high school season with the Lady Beavers. During her high school career, she helped lead DuBois to two District 9 titles in soccer while also winning three more in track and field. She also was named one of the Lady Beavers captains for her senior season. In cheerleading, she also became the MVP for the competition cheerleading squad in her final high school season.
Since then, she has become an important member of the Penn State Beaver women’s program and even the Penn State community at large since 2018. She has been a three-year starter on defense, a three-year captain, was awarded the John Fritz Sportsmanship Award, was named First-Team All-PSUAC as a sophomore, was awarded the Administration of Justice Award for her high academic achievement, is a three-time PSUAC Scholar-Athlete, a three-time USCAA Scholar-Athlete, and has made the Dean’s List all six semesters she has been enrolled at Penn State.
Additionally, King has also been a representative for Penn State Beaver’s THON (dance marathon) committee and was even selected as her committee’s dancer for the 2021 childhood cancer fundraiser.
“It was the hardest thing I have ever done,” she said. “Even though it was virtual, it was still an amazing opportunity, and I am proud to have been a part of THON these last three years.”
The Reynoldsville native is majoring in Administration of Justice and initially thought her academic journey would lead to a career as a police officer. However, she has discovered an interest to work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which could give her the opportunity to live virtually anywhere in the United States and also to still make a difference in various communities.
While King’s first two years of college featured a full season, her junior year was a whirlwind as the 2020 fall sports season was cancelled and classes were also mostly offered online or using a hybrid format. It was not an easy fall semester for the Jefferson County native; but over time, it improved and the program was able to be together in the spring of 2021 to practice and even compete in a small tournament with two scrimmages against two fellow PSUAC programs that Penn State Beaver was able to win.
“I honestly get goosebumps thinking back on this spring,” said King. “It meant so much to me and my teammates to finally get the chance to play again, and it will mean so much to have a full season in the fall. I am really excited for it.”
In her free time, King enjoys spending time with friends and family and enjoys spontaneous road trips to various cities. One aspect about attending Penn State Beaver she has enjoyed perhaps most of all was making friends who are from all over the country. The women’s soccer team at Beaver features student-athletes from six states with even more states being represented on other athletic programs at the school.
As for advice for future college athletes or even high school athletes who hope to compete in college who are unsure if they have what it takes, she says: “Sending emails and making connections with coaches may just earn you a chance to continue playing the sport you love. I have met some of the greatest friends possible from having the chance to play college sports and my experience overall has been wonderful. It is worth a try putting yourself out there to try to get noticed.”
Attending a soccer camp going into her senior year of high school ended up being a “right place at the right time” moment for the DuBois Area High School product, but her hard work after the fact is what has helped Marissa King become one of the queens of the PSUAC since 2018. Hopefully, this fall creates a memorable final run for the Jefferson County native and her teammates.