Senior Dominique Paglia speaks on committing to Brandeis University

Soccer player Dominique Paglia is in action.

Dominique Paglia

Soccer player Dominique Paglia is in action.

Sanhita Lothe, Staff Writer

Senior Dominique Paglia committed to Brandeis University for its blend and balance of academics and athletics. She shared her opinion on the current situations regarding COVID-19 and how the global pandemic may affect recruitments for students as well.

Q: What was your mindset freshman year?

A: I knew that I wanted [to play] soccer going into college, and I was more geared towards D3 schools because I felt like I had less motivation coming back from my injury [broken leg] and I wanted a little less commitment as well as being able to balance a highly academic school. Then as my sophomore and junior year progressed, I was just looking at D3 schools the whole time and so that’s how I was able to find Brandeis. It was close to home and had a perfect blend of academics and athletics.

Q: Why is a good balance and blend of athletics and academics important to you in a college?

A: It definitely was something I always had in mind. Before my freshman year, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to study in [college], or what my interests were academics wise. I wasn’t really sure what schools to look at because I didn’t know what kind of balance I was looking for. Once I realized that I wanted to study sciences, I found a lot of good schools in the area, some also farther away. Trinity, Tufts, Brandeis, and Johns Hopkins were some schools I had been looking at. They were all very good in the neuroscience department, and that’s how I was able to find and narrow down some schools as well as figure out that science [schools]  are not schools I can play soccer at all the time because it is so heavy on the academic load.

Q: What was your thought process when you were choosing Brandeis compared to other colleges?

A: So at the time I was verbally committing, I had three schools [narrowed down]: Tufts, Trinity College, and Brandeis. Tufts was actually my number one school although, with COVID and all of that, I was not able to go to the clinics that I had signed up for […]. I specifically asked [the coach] for a yes or no commitment wise. She was not able to give me an answer, so at that point, I had to go to Trinity and Brandeis, who had both given me offers, and decide between those two schools. Based on geographics, Trinity is an hour and a half away from my house and Brandeis is only 25 minutes, and [there were] some other factors, such as the girls on my club team who had committed there. So at the end of my recruiting process, that’s how I narrowed down my schools. 

Q: During freshman year, was Brandeis even a college you were thinking about? 

A: I hadn’t even heard about Brandeis until the head coach had reached out to me. I was actually flown out to Indiana to visit the head coach at the University of Indiana. I had visited Notre Dame at the time, so that was all before my injury, and that was the level of schools I was looking at at the time. Not until the Brandeis head coach had reached out to me, was when Brandeis became a [possibility] I had to consider. After looking into the aspects and what they had to offer, I was hooked on the idea of going there. 

Q: Considering the recent situation, how has coronavirus affected you as a player?

A: It’s definitely been difficult to get out there and get some exposure to colleges and just clubs and high schools in general. As a player individually, I feel like I’ve gained a lot more self-motivation to just go out and practice on my own since I hadn’t been able to be in contact with other players that I usually practice with. It’s definitely been helpful in the way of teaching me to motivate myself.

Q: What is your opinion on the coronavirus and it affecting other athletes and their chances at showing off to scouts?

A: So it definitely was easier for me, since I had finished my recruiting before COVID had even started, although, throughout the process, it did deter some of the options that I had. I think it’s very hard for the junior athletes this year because there is a dead period for division one and division two schools, so I think in that way it could encourage people to pursue division three sports. With all the winter sports getting possibly canceled, I think as long as all the sports are following the guidelines that have been set, I think there really is no reason to stop or get in the way of kids just really wanting to play the sports they love. I really encourage people trying to get out there and advocate for themselves in that way.

Q: Who is or was your inspiration or any figure that helped you get to where you are today?

A: Playing on WAGS [Westford Academy Girls Soccer] for four years, and also playing with these two players in club soccer, two girls who graduated last year, Brooke Ditcham and Ally Giovino, they both went D1 soccer, and I played with them all the time. Being able to bounce my ideas off of them and ask them questions, because I was very curious about the college process, and just to have them encouraging me and guiding me along the way really motivated me to keep pursuing my dreams of being a college athlete. Just in general they were really amazing role models for me.

Q: Do you have any last pieces of advice for other aspiring athletes during this time? 

A: I definitely would advise them not to give up. If they have a dream to play, or be a collegiate athlete, they shouldn’t let COVID diminish their dreams or aspirations. Another thing that really helped me [early on], was setting up and laying out the options that I had, so I could more easily narrow it down to more realistic options for me as a college athlete.