Danielle Nevett’s positive influence shines on and off the field

Jillian Ward

More stories from Jillian Ward

Senior goalkeeper Danielle Nevett gets ready to knock the ball away in her game against Winston Churchill. Nevett hopes to play Churchill once more if COVID conditions allow it.

Photo courtesy of Danielle Nevett

Senior goalkeeper Danielle Nevett gets ready to knock the ball away in her game against Winston Churchill. Nevett hopes to play Churchill once more if COVID conditions allow it.

Starting at just 4 years old, senior Danielle Nevett became a soccer star. Nevett began her soccer career on an MSI team, then moved onto the classic level. Soon after, Nevett moved up to Potomac Soccer Association, a club level travel team where she has played since 7th grade. According to Nevett, she has always been into pretty much all sports and did not begin playing soccer for any particular reason.

“I was always into sports as a kid, but I don’t specifically remember asking to play soccer. I feel like it’s just one of those things that every little kid tries out until they figure out what they actually want to do. I just happened to stick with it,” Nevett said.

When Nevett was younger, she came to find her goalkeeper position pretty easily. Starting at a young age gave Nevett a lot of time to keep improving as she grew.

“I was the only person on my team who didn’t hate [playing goalie], so I played fairly often. As I got older I got better, but it always came pretty naturally to me,” she said.

In Nevett’s WJ soccer career, she played on JV her freshman year and was moved up to the varsity team her sophomore year. Getting a chance to play at both levels of her sport in high school allowed Nevett to see the difference between JV and varsity sports.

“The two main differences between JV and varsity are that varsity is a much faster-paced and physical game. The varsity players are bigger, faster and stronger, which really creates a more competitive atmosphere,” Nevett said.

WJ soccer was a different type of environment for Nevett, as she found it a lot different than the club in that she was seeing her teammates at school every day. This, to Nevett, was a big part of what being an athlete at WJ is all about.

“An obvious reason playing WJ soccer is different from club soccer is that you go to school with the people you get really close with. Seeing teammates in the hallways or at school events and stopping to chat is a great part of the WJ athlete experience,” Nevett said.

Playing soccer at school allowed Nevett to be exposed to many different people that she would have not met if it weren’t for soccer. She also very much enjoys playing rival schools such as BCC because she played against people that she knew.

Being an athlete at school comes with its ups and downs. Nevett found being on the team very enjoyable and worth all the hard work, but did admit that sometimes it is a lot to handle.

“We get to participate in pep rallies and do team spirits and traditions,”Nevett said. ¨However, it’s a ton of time and effort to be an athlete. For soccer, we train five times a week and have to give up part of our summer break. It’s exhausting, but totally worth it.”

The impact that Nevett has on the team is something she wants to be positive and beneficial for all of her teammates. To Nevett, being a good person and teammate is very important and she hopes for the team to continue her positivity even after she leaves for college.

“I hope that I’ve had a positive impact on the team, both on and off the field. I try to be as inclusive and uplifting as possible, and I want those team qualities to continue even after I graduate,” Nevett said.

Junior teammate Sydney Stein applauds Nevett’s effect on the team; Stein had nothing but kind words about her and her positivity.

“She always motivates others while staying extremely positive. She was a leader even though she was never captain because people looked up to her as goalie,” Stein said.

Nevett’s coach Joshua Kinnetz believes that her unique role on the team stems from her playing a unique position on the field.

“Dani is unique in the sense that she plays the role of the most unique position on the field—keeper. However, it’s more than one role that she performs. She is the general giving orders from the back field, she is a player that is asked to do all the routine stuff and then asked to come up bigger than any other player,” Kinnetz said.

As she is graduating this year, Nevett of course wants the team to continue being successful, but more so wants everyone to have fun on the team for the years to come to make their four years the best they can be.

“Obviously I want the team to do well and win games, but at the end of the day it’s about having fun. I want everyone to bond and make the most of their four years,” Nevett said.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the soccer team did not get to have their traditional fall season. There is the possibility of a shortened season in the spring, which Nevett hopes to have so she does not get to miss out on senior year traditions.

“I’m pretty bummed about the season being canceled. I was really looking forward to senior traditions like senior night and dropping off goodie bags at the new players’ houses. I’m hopeful that we can play in the spring and I can still have a memorable senior season,” Nevett said.

Not only is Nevett a WJ athlete, but she participates in other extracurricular activities that pertain to other interests. Outside of soccer, Nevett is an officer of WJ Sources of Strength and on Kathy Simmons’s Mock Trial team.

“I try to get involved at school in many ways, not just athletics,” Nevett said.