Tre Smith, Media Relations Student Intern
College is a time when most students leave the nest for the first time and go off to school a few hours away. For Auburn soccer player Ellie Leek, it was a matter of going to another country.
Leek, a native of Torfaen, Wales, made her way to the Plains as a freshman in 2014 and has been a major contributor for the Tigers ever since.
Now a senior, Leek reflects on her time at Auburn and how it has changed her life.
AuburnTigers.com: How big of an adjustment was it coming to Auburn from Wales?
Ellie Leek: I’ve had that question a lot. It was really hard when I first came over here, especially adjusting to the eating and how busy I was every day. Honestly, though, after my first semester I kind of got used to it. Now, even when I go home I want to come back.
AT: Who has the best food, Wales or Auburn?
EL: I’m probably biased because obviously your parents’ home-cooked meals are going to be the best, but I do love hibachi over here, which we don’t have over in the UK. It’s amazing. Mexican food, too, I love that as well.
AT: What's your favorite meal at the Wellness Kitchen and how many times a week do you eat there?
EL: I love the Wellness Kitchen. The breakfast is probably my favorite because you can have your own omelets made. You literally have whatever you want, so I definitely say that’s my favorite. I like the fruit as well because it’s fresh every single day for every meal, so that’d be my favorite.
AT: How old were you when you first started playing soccer and what made you interested in it?
EL: I started playing when I was five or maybe a bit younger. I have a brother who is three years older than me. He always played, and I used to just copy him. So, I used to practice all the time just to try to be like him and just fell in love with the sport that way.
AT: Describe your experience with playing for the national team?
EL: When you’re under 16, under 17, playing with the national team is honestly the best experience. We got to travel all around Europe playing in different tournaments. We were never really that good because we’re Wales, but the experience itself was something that I treasure. I hope one day I’ll be able to go back and play for the seniors if I continue playing.
AT: What is the biggest difference between now and your freshmen year?
EL: That’s a really good question. I think I’ve grown up an awful lot. I was always really independent growing up, but coming over here is a different level of independency. Being a student-athlete and taking care of your classes, you have to be responsible. It’s just really made me grow up and prepared for life.
AT: What are your plans after graduation?
EL: I’m going to apply for grad school so that’s one option. There’s an option to go play back home or if I want to continue playing see if I can in Europe or something like that. But right now I’m just trying to keep my options open and see where life takes me.