University of Southern Indiana

Daly finds a match with USI

Daly finds a match with USI

9/24/2022 | University Communications
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Defender for the University of Southern Indiana Women’s Soccer team Mia Rose Daly has traveled miles to ensure the success of her academics and athletics are being met to their fullest potential. The Haiku, Hawaii, native hasn’t been through your typical college experience, but it’s one that has allowed her to adapt and change in positive ways.  

Her bubbly personality plays a huge part in how she's handled the constant change and transitional moments throughout her collegiate career. “Since attending four different universities in my college career, I have been able to meet new people and embark on new experiences—moving away from home, to begin with, allowed me to mature and grow.”  

Aligning the goal

Daly’s drive and passion for soccer developed around the age of 5 years old. When she started practicing and investing herself more into the soccer atmosphere, she knew soccer was no longer solely a hobby she enjoyed participating in, but rather, a lifestyle she wanted to invest in. Mia Hamm, the youngest player on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team, became Daly’s inspiration. She looked up to Hamm and wanted to be just as successful in her soccer career.  

At 13, Daly started looking into colleges, trying to decide where she wanted to play after high school. After graduating, she was on the first train to Brooklyn, New York, to begin her career as a Division I student athlete.  

Testing the field  

Daly started her collegiate career as a freshman at Long Island University (LIU) Brooklyn studying sports management. She set out to make the university her home for the next four years until the demolition of her teams’ soccer field started, prompting her to transfer schools.  

Turning the page into sophomore year, Daly transferred to Long Island University (LIU) Post. The student athlete experience she was hoping for at LIU Post quickly felt nonexistent. She went through a depressed state where everything that happened around her was not going as planned. Dealing with confidence issues as a player was the biggest obstacle she faced. “Having coaches who supported me and guided me in the direction of having a ‘just do it’ mentality, and teaching me to accept the mistakes, taught me how I could learn and move on from them,” she says.  

Though appreciative of the new mindset she gained at LIU Post, Daly no longer believed this was where she needed to be. She uprooted and transferred to St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. There, she switched to a major in business and minored in both sports management and psychology.  

During her senior year at St. Francis, Daly pursued and received a sponsorship/partnership opportunity with a national hydration drink brand.  

This was Daly’s first partnership with a brand since the NCAA started allowing athletes to have partnerships/sponsorships. “It has been surreal being in a partnership just like a pro athlete would—this experience not only shows me what being a sponsored professional athlete feels like, but it also gives me the sense of what it’s like to promote and represent a company,” she says. 

Shooting her shot and scoring at USI 

Wrapping up her senior year and happy with her current state at St. Francis, it was time for Daly to start thinking about her next play. She entered the athletic portal as a future graduate student athlete, and USI was the first to bite. Even with all the traveling she had done throughout her undergraduate career, Daly had never been to the Midwest. She set up a meeting with Eric Schoenstein, USI Women’s Soccer Head Coach, and the rest of the team to tour campus. And the rest is history—now, she is a proud Screaming Eagle.  

Since her arrival in May, Daly has been blessed with warm welcome greetings from teammates, coaches, and faculty and staff. “It has been great being surrounded by extremely talented teammates, hard-working and supportive coaches and having access to all the athletic facilities USI has to offer for student athletes—I have never had athletic facilities like the ones here at USI,” she says.  

Within the first couple months of showcasing her athletic abilities as a defender, Daly has surpassed expectations. She has battled in consecutive matches defined by physicality and the constant battle for ball possession. In the matchup against Northern Illinois on August 28, she led USI’s defense holding them to only three shots with eleven attempts. In the matchup against the University of North Alabama Lions on September 1, she took a lone shot, stepping up early in the first half. She later made a vital tackle, 12 minutes in, to prevent a breakaway attack.  

Daly has also been nominated for defensive player of the week by the Ohio Valley Conference. According to a USI Athletics press release, in her first few matches with USI, “Daly has been a big impact player on the backline, winning over 90% of her one-on-one defensive battles—her distribution rate out of the back has had a success clip of over 80%.” 

Being a student athlete can often feel like a full-time job. Daly says staying on top of homework the best she can means doing it in her “free time” or on bus trips when the team is on the road traveling. Her graduate program is an online-based program, allowing her to work on academics on her own time while still being able to meet coursework deadlines. The online course format allows Daly to be flexible in her day-to-day responsibilities juggling academics and athletics.  

Competing Division I 

Daly was no rookie when it came to competing at the Division I level. Prior to USI, her previous three universities were Division I, and she knew, from a young age, it was a level she wanted to challenge herself in. She says being on the first USI Women’s Soccer Division I team has been challenging at times, but overall, very rewarding. “We are keeping up and competing with other teams very well,” she says. “We have tied a lot of games, but we are still needing that final click of scoring more goals.” 

Moving forward 

After Daly completes the Master of Sport Management program in Spring 2023 at USI, she plans to play soccer professionally in Europe. Whenever the time comes to hang up her jersey, Daly will pick her academic career back up and pursue her dream job of becoming a manager for a professional sports team, working in either operations or events—a career she’s being prepared well for at USI.  

The ultimate goal 

Daly has experienced all the ins and outs of playing soccer at the collegiate level. She always knew it was a lifestyle she wanted to fully invest in. And since those dreams as a child, she has continued to invest in the sport that shaped her. As she continues to pursue her goals and dreams, Daly plans to utilize every piece of knowledge and wisdom she has received from her coaches, fellow teammates and faculty, and carry those with her for future obstacles. From here, Daly will soar in the classroom, on the field and beyond what is expected. 

Five fast facts about Mia: 

  • Mia enjoys baking, blogging about holidays and traveling. 
  • She is a city girl at heart and can’t wait to one day be reunited with New York. 
  • Her favorite part about living in New York is being able to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and experience the greatness of New York during the holiday season.  
  • She cares a lot about other people and will do anything to make someone’s day—even if you’re a stranger.  
  • She has three sisters—Dana, DeAnn, and Denise. 

This piece was written by Shaila Dalrymple, University Strategic Communication Graduate Assistant.

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