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International student will continue
soccer career, studies in Connecticut
May 16, 2014
Two years ago, women's soccer player Betti Worth may have been a newcomer to the Community College of Rhode Island, but she faced a bigger transition at the same time: moving to an entirely new continent.
Worth, 22, is a native of Bolton, a town near Manchester in England. When she came to the United States in 2011 as part of an international youth coaching program, what was meant to be a temporary trip turned into a more permanent stay when she caught the attention of CCRI women's soccer head coach Dennis Grassini via an acquaintance of his who had seen Worth in action.
Grassini talked to Worth, and soon she was enrolled in the school pursuing her associate degree in General Studies. Out of the classroom, she remained a fierce competitor on Grassini's squad, earning regional and national titles in the process. She was named to the first team NJCAA All-American as well as the NSCAA Division 1 All North Region Team in addition to earning designations as MVP and team captain.
Now that Worth is about to graduate, she said she feels fortunate to live two lives across two homes – one in her native England with her mother Susan, father, Ian, and brother, Nathan; and the other here in Rhode Island, where she lives in Warwick. Though she described herself as a "family person" who once couldn't bear to be away from her parents on overnight sleepovers, Worth has certainly made a full life for herself here at the college. Even though she does contend with the occasional bouts of homesickness, she calls her decision to come to CCRI "a dream come true" and the best decision she has made in her life.
"It's hard to put yourself out there, but if you don't, you're left on your own," she said. "And without the people who support me here, I wouldn't have been able to do it."
Worth is talking, of course, about her coaches, Grassini and associate head coach Kathy Bannan, as well as her teammates, whom she said she was quick to gel with. "The first day, I was so nervous. But the girls were there for me. We all of the sudden became this big family, really close. We practice together, hang out together and travel together, and we have great fun," she said.
But the soccer team isn't the only family that Worth has come to call her own during the past two years. She spent her first year living with Lady Knights soccer co-captain Jess McCaughey and her family and her second year with teammate Cait McGarry and her parents and three brothers. They've been able to supply her with a car so that she can maintain a bit more independence with her schedule – something that no doubt comes in handy, given all of the athletic and academic responsibilities her life entails. And she spends a great deal of time with the Gallucci family, who she said has supported her throughout her time here.
"I've been so lucky," she said.
Alongside the considerable life that Worth has built for herself here in her second home, she has worked hard to excel in the classroom, as well, and is graduating with a 3.45 GPA. It didn't all come easily to her, she explained; a bit of a workhorse on and off the field with the tendency to "work herself to the ground" when it comes to scholastic performance, she struggled at first with some subjects as well as managing her time.
She explained that having the split between two worlds was trying at times – "it's so easy for me to text people back home," she said, "and I talk to my parents every day." But with the help of the college's tutors as well as her coaches, she soon found her footing and was able to better manage her schedule. She made the dean's list her first semester, and in her final semester was honored as a CCRI scholar-athlete in a ceremony at the State House.
It should come as no surprise that athletics are Worth's passion, and she hopes to prove wrong everyone who chided her that she couldn't be interested only in athletics. She said she wants to go into business and sports management, and eventually dreams of managing her own sports organization.
"I can't really explain it, but it's pretty much all I've ever been interested in. When I was growing up, in school, I was just waiting for physical education, and I was always trying to get people outside to go play," she said.
On the field, her work and adjustments to the culture here have also paid off. Worth was known for being a physical player, "trucking" through her competition as an aggressive midfielder. Here, she found the game required a little more finesse. And her fitness needed improving, she said. "But I came here, I learned discipline, and it's kept me on track."
Much as Worth caught Grassini's eye, she earned the attention of Southern Connecticut State University, where she will transfer this fall. She said it was the interest of the coaches as well as its proximity to Rhode Island that made it an attractive offer, and she is looking forward to joining her new teammates soon.
In the meantime, she will be doing what she does best: She has signed on to play with the Rhode Island Reds, a semi-professional women's team, for its inaugural season. She has her sights set on playing professional soccer in the future, and no matter if she chases her dream on this side of the pond or back in England, she knows one thing: She'll feel right at home.
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