Student Athlete Highlight: Ben Purnell

Posted by Rachel Cochrane on 8/28/20 8:30 AM

Ben Purnell

PHC athletes put in a lot of time, energy, and grit to play on the basketball and soccer teams. We wanted to get an inside look at what it’s like to be a PHC athlete, so we talked to rising senior Ben Purnell about his experience.

How did you get involved with PHC soccer?

I, like many freshmen, was afraid of doing too many extra-curriculars. I came in, I didn’t do preseason, I wasn’t planning on doing soccer, and basically three days before the first game, one of the players on the team figured out I played goalie in high school. He really didn’t want to play goalie, so he convinced me to play. I realized that not being able to fit sports or extra curriculars into freshman year is, in fact, a myth, and I haven’t looked back since joining the team. I’ve loved every moment.

What made you stick with soccer after freshman year?

Part of it’s just that I’ve always loved sports. I’ve played some sort of sport since, you know, I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I think I started official, organized sports when I was five. I’ve just always loved it. Organized sports is something that many people really only get to do a couple times in life, and being on a team, working together towards something, and see those results pay off. College might be the last chance you have to experience that.

What’s it like being on a team at PHC?

I guess the main thing I think of is the bus rides. Freshman and sophomore year we played a game in Tennessee. It’s an eight-hour drive, and it’s always a ton of fun. There’s 15 of us in the van, and we’re all crammed. Some people are trying to study; some people are trying to sleep. It’s a weird environment, and it can be annoying sometimes, but those are the moments where you really feel like you’re part of a team: when you laugh together. On the field, you’re working together, and then you can celebrate together or cry together when a game goes badly.

What’s your favorite part about playing for PHC?

Through and through I’m a very competitive person. Playing organized sports is something that I’ve always loved. There are a lot of really special moments where we're not only getting to play one of my favorite sports, but we’re also getting to play as a team representing this school.

And yeah, we're not super successful. There’s a lot of heartbreaking moments, but I also think of the games we’ve won where we’re coming back, winning in overtime. I remember my freshman year, we had a homecoming game that ended up being one-one. We went into overtime, and it was one of the most tense soccer games I’ve ever been in. We had over 70 fans out in the bleachers, and it really was one of my favorite memories looking back on college.

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