UHV soccer player juggles school, team, social life

Arielle McGillis

From practices, to matches and tournaments, Arielle McGillis, a defender on the University of Houston-Victoria women’s soccer team, is no stranger to representing her school on the field.

In early November she took her skills outside the Lone Star State. The sophomore recently returned from San Marcos, Calif., where she and her teammates battled it out at the Association of Independent Institutions Conference Women’s Soccer Championships. Although the team didn’t take home top honors, she said the experience itself was worth it.

“Just getting there – the accomplishment of knowing we’d made it that far – it was awesome,” she said. “It was an amazing experience.”

McGillis got her first taste of soccer around age 10 and realized early on that it was the sport for her. Not only is it good exercise, it creates a special bond between teammates, she said.

Her time with the Jaguars is no exception.

“We’re really goofy when we’re around each other, but we work well together,” she said. “It’s awesome when we work so hard as a team and win a game. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world.”

The Corpus Christi native graduated from Katy’s Seven Lakes High School in 2011 and moved on to UHV, where she studies education. Her goal after graduating is to teach second grade or higher.

“I don’t want to have to teach them how to wash their hands,” she said with a laugh. “But in elementary school, I just feel like you can teach them a lot – not just about math and science, but also things like morals, right and wrong, and other important lessons.”

McGillis isn’t the first in her family to pursue this career. Her grandfather, a former high school teacher, got her thinking about education and has provided real-life advice as she works toward her goals.

Never one to take it too easy, the 19-year-old also works as a resident assistant in Jaguar Hall. There she assists other students, organizes events and keeps active in the Jaguar community. The position helped her come out of her shell, she said.

“My freshman year, I wasn’t very social,” she said. “But as a resident assistant you have to be social. You have to get to know your residents and get involved. I really like what I’m doing.”

McGillis said it takes careful planning to get everything done she needs to in a day. She encouraged other students balancing busy schedules to keep organized.

“You have to look at your priorities,” she said. “Know your deadlines, make a list and get the most important things done first. It works for me.”

I am a Jaguar is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact Paula Cobler, UHV interim director of marketing and communications, or call 361-570-4350.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Allison Miles 361-570-4342