This is part of a series called “Outside of the game.” Other featured BYU student athletes are Adam Hine, Kyle Rose, Brock Whitney, Taryn Lewis and Ben Patch. The complete, interactive iBook is available for free in the iBookstore.
Whether she’s under the lights of the soccer field or the lights of a stage, senior soccer goalie Erica Owens is a natural performer.
In her junior year, Owens achieved 77 saves and 12 shutouts – good enough for first in the West Coast Conference in goals against average, total shutouts and save percentage. She was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-West Region Second Team, CollegeSportsMadness.com All-WCC First Team and All-America Second Team.
She also helped lead her team to a historic season, going 20-2-2 and being selected as the No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament, the highest seed ever for a woman’s team at BYU and the highest seed in the team’s history. The Cougars made it as far as the quarterfinals but fell to North Carolina at home, 2-1, in double overtime.
While Owens excels on the soccer field, she is also an accomplished pianist.
“I think piano would probably be the big thing outside of soccer,” Owens said. “If I wouldn’t have chosen soccer, I would have pursued piano performance. I’ve played since I can remember. I think I started when I was 4, and it began with my mom just teaching me songs, and I would memorize them and practice them. So I didn’t ever follow the music, but then as I got older I started looking at music.”
Soccer and piano seem to be worlds apart, but Owens said it takes the same amount of dedication and hard work to be good at both.
“I would probably say that (piano and soccer are similar) with the amount of dedication they take, especially when it comes to learning technique as a goalie,” Owens said. “I have to spend a lot of time perfecting everything I do because you can’t really make mistakes as a goalie. I guess they are very similar in that aspect.”
Owens said her mother has been a huge influence on both her soccer and piano playing.
“My mom would get all of the credit on that because she drilled me and taught me how to practice perfectly and taught me how to put the time towards it, and that has transferred over to soccer,” Owens said. “It all comes down to practicing it perfect, as I said. It’s not the practice that makes perfect but perfect practice that makes perfect.”
Owens’ style on the piano is much like it is on the soccer field. She can play recognizable pieces including “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Hungarian Rhapsody,” which both require a lot of technical skill and practice.
“I’m very technical, fast and showy,” Owens said. “Usually that’s what I stick with.”
Owens continues to play the piano when she’s not busy playing soccer, and she said she is called to be the ward pianist in most wards she attends. Ultimately, this star soccer player feels that her two loves aren’t much different.
“I don’t know if there is much of a difference,” Owens said. “The rush that I get from both of them is very similar because I’ve put a lot of time into both of them. So if I perform well, then I get this big rush of excitement like, ‘Yeah, I just did that, and it was awesome.’”