You’re not always going to have win after win after win. The biggest thing is you have to do your job. We win or we lose as a team, but everyone has to do their job as a team.
Linnea D’Acchille ‘22 came to Fitchburg State to pursue her dream of kicking on a collegiate football team, but found a second family.
D’Acchille, from upstate New York, began her collegiate kicking career in her native state, but wasn’t happy with the opportunities she was receiving. When a teammate encouraged her to look at Fitchburg State, she found her fit.
“I loved everything about it,” she said, from the athletic training facilities to the campus itself, as well as the biology and chemistry program.
As a woman playing in a traditionally male sport, she was also appreciative of the support she received from her teammates. “We do everything together,” she said, describing a regimen of going to the gym together to breaking bread family-style in the apartment she shares with five of her teammates.
Those bonds remained strong in the 2021 season, despite a challenging record by the Falcons. Several factors likely contributed to the losing season, not least the massive disruptions created by the COVID pandemic.
“I was like the team therapist,” she said. “I would tell them, ‘You’re not always going to have win after win after win.’ The biggest thing is you have to do your job. We win or we lose as a team, but everyone has to do their job as a team.”
D’Acchille said there were a lot of tough times during the season, but she found inspiration from moments along the way, including her season-ending extra point.
“The guys were so excited that I was finally kicking,” she said, recalling long hours training with a net compared to kicking for actual points on the field.
Like many student-athletes, D’Acchille missed the playing time the pandemic cost her. She has decided to return for another semester to play for one more in-person season this fall. In the meantime, she said the experience of participating in athletics helped her perform in the classroom.
D’Acchille said planning is key to finding that equilibrium. She is diligent about maintaining an electronic calendar that includes her classes, her football practices, and dedicated studying time. It helps, she said, that she loves her coursework.
“I’ve never loved a program more than Fitchburg State’s science program,” she said, crediting the knowledgeable yet approachable faculty members like her advisor, Professor Erin Rehrig from Biology/Chemistry.
“I’m one of those people who does better when I’m busier,” she said. “The biggest key is finding a balance.”
This story was originally published in the Spring 2022 edition of Contact magazine.