Professional athletes are creatures of habit. Everything they do is part of a routine. From training to meals to even curfews on the road, every part of the day is scheduled.
Which means adding collegiate classes to try and complete a degree could be even more difficult. But two Union players, Auston Trusty and Fabian Herbers, are still working to earn a degree from Southern New Hampshire University by taking online classes.
“I saw an opportunity to further my education,” Trusty said. “With my age and being in America, how important going to a university or a college is, it was a no-brainer for me.”
Trusty is using SNHU to further his education from the Union Academy. Trusty joined the Academy from the very first day, working his way through the Academy ranks both on the soccer field and in the classroom as well.
“At YSC Academy, they kind of introduced me to online learning, because we had a program for certain classes we had to take online,” Trusty said. “Getting to know online learning helped me push through to SNHU.”
As Trusty was nearing his graduation, he received scholarship offers from North Carolina and other schools to further his education. However, Trusty signed a contract with the Union, becoming the team’s second homegrown player from the Academy.
Trusty didn’t want to abandon his education however. He enrolled in online classes with SNHU. This semester, he’s taking a couple classes, just getting his feet wet with the school.
“I already finished one class, which I’m pretty happy about,” Trusty said. “I’m taking two classes now, and they’re pretty interesting.”
Trusty has found taking online classes to be helpful and actually fits into his schedule well. From bus rides or down time when on the road, or even once training ends in Philadelphia, he can always find enough time to get his work done. It’s all about just staying disciplined.
“At first, I didn’t really like that, I rather have classes in person, I’d rather have communication person to person” Trusty said. “But as time goes on, I got used to it and I kind of like it better. I can work at my own pace and do my own job and get my work done myself. That’s the benefit of online learning, you just have to figure out when you can do your work. It’s absolutely doable, you just have to have the work ethic.”
Herbers took a different path to SNHU. Herbers actually went to Creighton University for three years, where he declared for the MLS SuperDraft after his junior year. After completing so much of his schooling, Herbers wanted to cross the finish line and earn his degree.
“I signed my pro contract and I chose to leave school early,” Herbers said. “I wanted to finish my education. It’s important to have something to back up on, because as a soccer player, you can’t play forever. It’s good to have something backed up.”
Obviously, taking online classes is a little different than actually attending classes at a brick-and-mortar university. But much like what Trusty said, there are advantages in taking online classes, especially with a busy schedule such as a professional athlete’s.
“I like taking classes online because you can schedule your own time,” Herbers said. “A normal university, you have to be there in class. Here, as a professional, I can train in the morning and take my time in the afternoon or evening to study whenever I want. It’s really beneficial for me.”
For the two of them, getting a degree is extremely important, because at some point, their soccer careers will end. But having something to use in life after soccer is important, which is what makes the partnership between MLS and SNHU so valuable.
“It’s great,” Herbers said. “I was always an academic guy, always had school before soccer. But at the point where I could sign professional, I chose the soccer before the academic part. But at the same time, I want to finish it, and I’m very happy to have the opportunity with SNHU to do that.”
“With the partnership with MLS and Southern New Hampshire, it’s just a no-brainer,” Trusty added. “Why not take advantage of it?”