The life of a walk-on student athlete isn’t easy. Walk-ons are required to put in just as many hours as scholarship athletes while not receiving any financial aid. The ultimate goal of nearly every walk-on is to earn a scholarship, and that was a goal sophomore soccer player Danielle Moore shared as well.
Moore, a Davenport native, was set to attend Iowa State University as a regular student with her soccer playing days behind her. But after a conversation with her parents and an email to the Iowa State coaching staff, Moore’s soccer career was given new life when she was offered a spot on the Cyclone roster as a walk-on.
“Once they offered me a spot on the team my next goal was to earn a scholarship,” Moore said. “I just wanted to do my best and do whatever I could to help the team.”
With a new motivation to earn her niche within the team and prove herself, Moore gave every ounce of effort she had to show that she belonged with the best. One of the things that separated Moore from the majority of the rest of the team did not come on the soccer field, but rather in the classroom. She also had to put effort into the original reason she came to Iowa State, to major in biological systems engineering, which is one of Iowa State’s most challenging majors.
“It’s a very demanding major,” Moore said. “Many of the other people in the major are fully dedicated to engineering. It can be hard at times being a full-time athlete and engineering major at the same time, but you can do it. It’s definitely doable.”
Not only did Moore do well in the classroom, but she exceeded. She was named to the Iowa State University Dean’s list for both the fall and spring semesters of her freshman year.
After doing so well in the classroom, Moore had another item on her checklist to accomplish. During her freshman season she didn’t see much playing time. The roster was laden with upperclassmen at her position, but she knew that her time would come. After the Cyclones loss in the Big 12 tournament, she knew that her sophomore season would be her chance to shine and have a chance at earning a scholarship.
“Last year at the end of spring we all had a meeting and Tony was telling me all the things that I was doing better at and things that I need to work on. Then at the end he was like ‘we’re going to put you on scholarship’ and I just started crying. It was very emotional. It meant a lot to me that I was able to set a goal and be able to accomplish it.”
Moore was given a scholarship. She had earned one of the most sought after goals set by walk-ons on any program. Now she had to prove that she could excel on the field as well as she did in the classroom.
A meeting with Coach Minatta in the spring revealed that the Cyclones were weak at the outside back position. The only problem was that Moore had played center mid her whole career and would have to learn a completely new position. But learning a new position wouldn’t be a task too tall for someone who had already accomplished what she had.
After a few learning bumps in the spring, Moore got better at her new position. So far this season she has proven to be one of Iowa State’s critical playmakers. The sophomore has started every game for the Cyclones and even dished out an assist against Northern Colorado. Not bad for someone who wasn’t even planning on playing soccer after high school.
“Looking back to last year at this time it’s crazy to think that it has developed into this,” Moore said. “It has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have met the best people and my best friends. I have had great mentors. It has been a crazy experience. My path is kind of abnormal, but it’s worked out well.”