Aug. 26, 2011
For Auburn senior Lydia Townsend, making an impact hasn't just come on the field; it has come in the classroom, in the community, and in other countries. Although she fielded a few offers to play college basketball, coming to Auburn was a fairly easy decision for the senior, whose entire family has attended Auburn.
"I played basketball all throughout high school, and I thought I was going to go to college for that, but I changed my mind late in my high school career," Townsend said. "Both of my parents came to Auburn. My mom got all three of her degrees here, and my dad got his master's here. I didn't want to go anywhere else. I've always known that Auburn was at the top of the list for me."
Townsend, who also happened to be Enterprise (Ala.) High's mascot, chose to stick with soccer over basketball, because of the better season that soccer has which allows her to go home so she can enjoy the holidays with her family.
"Soccer has a better season, and I am very spoiled when it comes to holidays," she said. "I like my Thanksgiving turkey. I like my Christmas and Spring Break, and basketball doesn't really get those breaks."
As a senior in high school, Townsend didn't know she would be coming to Auburn for soccer until December, which forced her to walk on to the team, but she later earned a scholarship, and her presence has been felt ever since. During her freshman year, Townsend scored her first goal of her Auburn career on her very first touch, against Grambling, 21 seconds after coming on the field.
"I didn't even realize it was on my first touch until after the game when Coach said something," Townsend said. "They brought it up after the first game and my reaction was `that was my first touch?' I didn't really think about it, because we didn't play that well as a team, but I was pretty pumped I scored a goal."
Townsend's impact has also been felt in the classroom. The senior forward was not only the valedictorian of her graduating class in high school, but has been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll all three years of her career here at Auburn.
"To me, academics is pretty important because the student comes before the athlete," Townsend stated. "I have always been focused on academics. As a team, we like to excel on the field, but we also make it a point here to excel in the classroom. I think that is important, because if you don't get your work done in the classroom, you aren't going to see the field."
Townsend has also become very involved with the student organization, Student Athletic Advisory Committee, or SAAC. During her freshman year, former teammate and SAAC president Addie Ragsdale persuaded Townsend to join, and by her junior year she was named an officer.
"I thought it was a good idea, because I have always been interested in community service," the senior said. "SAAC does a lot of volunteer and community service, and that initially is what caught my attention. I got heavily involved in my sophomore year, and last year, I became an officer."
Townsend's active community service efforts haven't just been with SAAC, as the senior is also involved with the organization, Soccer Without Borders. This past summer, she and four other teammates, Ana Cate, Katy Frierson, Amy Howard, and Maddie Barnes, traveled to Nicaragua where they were able to help children learn the fundamentals of soccer.
"It was unbelievable experience," Townsend said of her Central American excursion. "We went down there trying to touch these kids' lives, and it turned out that they touched our lives even more. Just to teach them soccer fundamentals and realize how blessed we are to have all the resources that we have over here was an amazing experience."
After she graduates this year from Auburn, the Radio, TV and Film major hopes to one day have her own TV show.
"I would like to produce and maybe do a little acting, because I'm interested in script writing," Townsend said. "I want to at one point have my own sitcom, or at least do something with comedy."
by Evan Roberts, Auburn Media Relations
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