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Oct. 9, 2012

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A Big East Academic All-Star, Danielle Benner has played in 32 games during her career at Pitt. As a sophomore she saw playing time in 16 games, starting three of them. Danielle notched her first goal as a Panther in a 6-1 win over St. John's in 2011. This season, Danielle has seen playing time in 14 games. Danielle will be graduate with a communications degree and a minor in social work. She is the daughter of Stephen and Deanna Benner of Willow Grove, Pa.

What are your favorite memories of attending Pitt?

"I would have to say my favorite part of school is everyone that I've met here, the relationships that you build with people and your teammates. I've made many friends and some of those friendships will last forever. Not just on our team but with the other athletic teams at Pitt. It's a great and healthy environment to be in."

Favorite soccer memories?

"Everything we did as a team, not just the games and winning, but the fact that everything we did as a team--all of the practices, all the traveling we did--the team bonding. Even the hard practices you remember, the things you would do as a team that you would never do individually, the fitness and hard work as a team."

Why did you attend Pitt in the first place?

"It's great academically. I really love everything about the school and being in the city. I'm definitely a city person. Pittsburgh's a great place to spend four years. It was something different. I'm from Philadelphia, it's far but not too far away from home. It's a different environment to be in which I really enjoyed."

What have you learned playing soccer at Pitt? What are some of the things that you'll take with you in life?

"I definitely learned structure and organization with soccer and how to balance school and social life. You learn to manage your time. It's amazing how much you can really do in a day and how focused and structured you have to be. Handling so much at once and still being efficient in what you do is a learning experience. Soccer-wise, it taught me to how grow and mature as a person. You're with people that you sometime wouldn't normally be with, but you have to be with them and you learn to accept people that you normally woudn't be around. Our entire team, we're all so different. People can really surprise you. Some people that I play with I normally wouldn't be with, but they've all become great friends. It's opened my eyes and I've done a lot of maturing."

What is the biggest adjustment to playing college soccer?

"I guess I would have to say the time commitment. Soccer has always been a major role in my life, but here it's everything. Everything you do, the travel sometimes causes you to miss class. Soccer impacts your life in school. Social life is affected. If you have a good day it's because of soccer, if you have bad day, it's probably because of soccer. It's more than a hobby, it's more like a job. You invest everything you have and it plays a role in your life."

What makes Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh unique?

"Athletically, how much support there is among the teams. How much it's a family both on our team and in all the sports. We always go to other teams' events, there's so much support. Even the engineering kids that come to all of our home games, they always come to our games. The support is so great. The family feeling is great."

What does playing at Ambrose Urbanic Field mean to you?

"It's an amazing feeling to have a field on campus that you can call your own. It's a whole new environment. It's great for the program It's a major step for recruiting having a home field that you can call your own and the fact that it's one of the nicest fields around. The support has totally changed. Now, many people can attend our games. It results in more energy and long-lasting effects that will help. It's great for attendance. It's something that we haven't always had."

Thing that you will miss most about Pitt soccer?

"Being part of a team. My whole life I've been part of team in some facet. It's something that not everyone gets to be a part of and something I'm so lucky to have. I'm going to miss it so much. Next year, it's going to be odd not being part of a team. You do things that you can never really imagine to do by yourself. For example, running-wise. You would never run on your own, but with a team, you push yourself. You're working not only for yourself but for other people. That's something I may never experience again."

Looking back on your career, what are some things that you would do differently?

"Learn to not take as much for granted. Coming in as a freshman, you look at it and you don't realize how fast the time goes by. Some days where you're tired, and don't feel like playing, but there's little moments that you won't get back. You have enjoy all the little moments. It all goes by so fast you really need to put everything you have into every moment."

What advice do you have for an incoming freshman soccer player at Pitt?

"I would just say put everything you have into everything you do. Most important is to enjoy yourself because it goes by so fast. There is good in everything. Make the most of your time and enjoy it along the way."

What is the best thing about attending Pitt?

"The city life. I love being in the city. The sports, the great sports teams in Pittsburgh and here at Pitt. It's so much fun to watch and be a part of. I have nothing to complain about my experience here at Pitt. I like everything about it. Nothing here I wish could be different."

Plans for the future?

"I really don't know right now. I'm focusing on the rest of the season and graduating. I'm working an internship now and we'll see where that takes me. I've been considering the Peace Corps and maybe going back to Haiti, where we went this summer and maybe, traveling. Right now. I don't know where I'll end up."

Women's Soccer Senior Profile: Danielle Benner

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