By Tomas Hoppough
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Kansas senior defender Cassie Dickerson knows exactly what it takes to work hard on the field and in the classroom. She is a student-athlete that has very limited free time due to her scholastic and athletic schedules.
As Dickerson captains the Jayhawks, she is also going through her second year of law school.
"It's hard to juggle sometimes," said Dickerson. "You just have to be really diligent and focused."
Dickerson transferred to KU from Ohio State University where she lettered two years for the Buckeye soccer program and graduated in 2010. She was attracted to the law school that KU provides, and generally loves the atmosphere. Although she says at times it can be difficult to be a law student and an athlete, it is better now that she is in her second year rather than her first.
"The first year of law school is hard," said Dickerson. "I feel that you're trying to keeping your head above water and figuring out how to be a law student."
Being a student-athlete can be challenging. However, Dickerson is used to the strenuous pressure of academics and athletics. During her time as an undergraduate at OSU, Dickerson earned Academic All-Big Ten honors three times, and was awarded the 2010-11 Big Ten Medal of Honor for demonstrating proficiency in scholarship and athletics.
"(Being a student athlete) feels normal for me," said Dickerson. "I've been doing this for a long time now. But I think it is definitely something you have to balance. I think it prepares you for life after athletics."
Between practice, academics, game-film, weights and conditioning, Dickerson says that time management is a key role to her success as a dedicated law-student-athlete. Time is a tool of high value for her.
Dickerson is highly respected by her coaches and teammates both on and off the field, because of the composure, experience and leadership she brings to her team.
According to head coach Mark Francis, Dickerson also contributes a sense of organization to the Jayhawks.
"She reads the game well, and she's a really good organizer," said Francis. "She's constantly communicating (with the team) and it is something that we missed last year."
That is what Dickerson is: Organized.
She has the personality to take on many things at once and organize it properly. She translates that on the field as a captain, and off the field with her school work. While the team travels to away games, Dickerson is known for keeping up with her law school assignments.
"I'm sure it's really hard for with all that work for law school," said Kansas midfielder Sarah Robbins. "When we're on the road I always see her reading and keeping up-to-date with all her homework."
Dickerson is a woman that is constantly working, pushing herself and always staying focused. When asked about what she does with any free time she finds, she responded with "sleep", followed by a laugh.
She is human, of course.
"I keep up with my reality TV when I can," she explained. "My favorite show right now is 'Scandal', but I'm definitely not a 'Basketball Wives' person."
Aside from her shows, Dickerson has picked up a certain hobby to broaden her skills in for her career as a lawyer.
"I just got Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish," she said.
Since she is not able to take Spanish classes while in law school, Dickerson believes this is a great way to learn the language, in which she hopes to become fluent.
"I think it would cool to be fluent in Spanish," said Dickerson. "It's one of the things on my bucket list."
There is another side to Dickerson that many people, including her teammates, may not know. She is a black belt in a certain type of martial arts: Tae Kwon Do.
Eight years of Dickerson's life were dedicated to Tae Kwon Do, and she went on to earn her black belt. However, ultimately she decided to focus on soccer, which got her through college.
"My dad has always tried to get me to go back to Tae Kwon Do," said Dickerson. "I might get back to it after soccer, but who knows."
To her teammate, Robbins, this piece of information came as a shock.
"That surprises me," said Robbins. "I think I am going to have to talk to her about that one."
Dickerson got involved with soccer by her older brother. Claiming to be a tomboy throughout her younger years, she always looked up to her brother and tried anything that he did. Her brother ultimately decided to play college baseball and was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2002.
Of all the different sides there are to Dickerson, organization and responsibility are two characteristics that come very naturally for to her. Her coaches see it, and her teammates felt the leadership she possesses from the moment she became a Jayhawk. Due to these traits, Dickerson's teammates came to a decision to grant her captaincy even though this was her first season donning the Crimson and Blue.
While honored to be chosen, Dickerson believes it is like she said-it all comes down to being diligent and focused.