By Nick BernalBig 12 Campus Correspondent
University of Colorado freshman Amy Barczuk has quickly become a starting midfielder for the No. 15 nationally ranked soccer team, but her talents extend beyond the soccer field.
Before committing to the Buffs during the spring semester of her junior year of high school, Barczuk was being recruited to play both Division I soccer and basketball. She was being recruited by a few Big 12 schools for basketball and was one of 100 high school players named as finalists for the prestigious McDonald's All-American game.
Barczuk's decision to attend the University of Colorado was not just about soccer.
"My decision to come here and to play soccer are kind of linked together," Barczuk explained. "I definitely wanted to keep in mind what kind of school I was choosing and not just choosing it because of the sport you are going to play there. I've always wanted to come to CU and when I started talking to (Colorado Coach) Bill (Hempen) it really appealed to me, and because soccer recruits before basketball I didn't want to take any chances so I committed to come here and play soccer. It was a package deal for me to come here."
Being recruited by a number of D-I schools in both sports had its benefits and its hindrances. The added options gave her more opportunities, but also took up valuable time and required her to make difficult decisions and sacrifices.
"It was tough playing both (sports)," Barczuk said. I" stopped playing club basketball when I was a sophomore and that is really where you get recruited. After I did that, basketball recruiting started to slow down a bit because I was starting to lean more towards playing soccer, in the end I was being recruited by more soccer programs than basketball but I was receiving interest in both."
The possibility of becoming a two-sport collegiate athlete has crossed her mind, but she is aware of the difficulties and challenges. She has no immediate plans to venture into collegiate basketball.
"I have considered it," Barczuk said. "But I'm just taking it one step at a time right now. It's my freshman year and I want to see how I handle one sport. I need to see how I handle that first, because two sports would definitely be a lot."
Barczuk has been thrilled with her decision to play soccer for the Buffs. The coaching staff loves her physicality, a factor that made her a starter in Colorados's first five games. She tallied her first goal when she buried her own rebound against St. Mary's.
"I love it, I love everything about it," Barczuk explained. "I really like it here, not just soccer, I love Boulder. Just everything about being here has been great and things have been going really well. It's awesome being able to contribute right away. I definitely wanted to come in and try and make a difference. My goal wasn't necessarily to start, but definitely to make a difference on this team. It's awesome to get to start and it means a lot to have the respect and trust of your teammates and coaches-especially when you're a freshman."
The Centennial, Colo. (Arapahoe) native is off to a strong that is mirrored in the team's success. Colorado knocked off No. 11 Oklahoma State, 1-0, in a memorable Big 12 Conference opener on August 22.
"So far, the best specific moment since I've been here has to be the Oklahoma State game," Barczuk said. "It was my first Big 12 game and I just love playing and competing. Coming in being the underdog (by national ranking) and knocking them off was a great moment.
"As far as expectations go, for me, I just want to continue to give it my all and to help the team in whatever ways that I can. As for the team, I want to win the Big 12 Conference and Big 12 Tournament and I think that we can do that."