As a forward on the women’s soccer team, Star White ’21 has lived up to her stellar name and posted a trio of goals on the season. White helped the Bears to a five-game shutout win streak at the beginning of the year, and has been a key contributor in the team’s victories. Most recently, White netted a goal in Bruno’s 2-1 win over the Dartmouth Big Green in the Ivy League home opener last Saturday. For her impressive performances on the field so far, White has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.
Herald: Is there a cool story behind your name, Starland?
White: I don’t really know, exactly, what my parents were thinking when they named me. My mom just wanted it to be Star and my dad was like, “let’s add -land to it,” and it (became) “Starland White.” I’m not sure what the reason is behind it, but I love my name.
Did you and your brothers grow up playing soccer together or against each other?
My dad would have training sessions with the three of us. We’re all very good soccer players. Kesun plays at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Amir is a freshman in high school and looking to play in college too. I’m sure he’ll be looking at (Atlantic Coast Conference) schools because he’s just as good as my other brother, Key. We didn’t even need to go to a formal training session. ... We’re all very competitive just like my dad and mom.
On a scale of zero to superstitious, do you have any pre-game rituals, assuming it doesn’t ruin the superstition if you share them?
I like to show up an hour before (games) and (use) NormaTech. I don’t even know if it really makes my legs lighter. I just feel better. ... Our trainer Beth knows I have to NormaTech before games because she even brings it to away games, so I literally do it before every game. ... It’s probably a mental thing too now, so I just like to do it. I also like to talk to my parents before the games. It really calms me. My dad gives me feedback on what I can do to improve from the last game and tells me to go in aggressive or play relaxed. I also wear the same sports bra and compression shorts. I didn’t even do this the last two years, but they match — they’re both gray. ... I think (it) started (at) Texas A&M. And I’m like, “well, we played well then, so I’m just gonna keep wearing them.”
Your natural hair is always flourishing. What do you do to maintain it?
Before college, I used to wash and flat iron it. My mom would blow dry it. And I just figured it was so much work because it would get frizzy, so frizzy (while) sweating and we would have to put a lot of heat to it, so much (heat). And in college, it was really hard without (my mom’s help). So I was like, “I need to make a change. My friend Cameron Brown ’21 started wearing her hair natural, so I was like, “mmm, maybe I should try that.” I was on the Instagram Explore page one day and I saw this ad about a product. It was like, “yeah, we help girls wear their hair natural and bring out their natural curls.” I was like, “ehh, let’s try it.” And I tried it going into my sophomore year because freshman year I was still wearing it in the (straightened) bun. But I started trying to wear it (natural) and it was kind of a lot of work, but I like how it looks. And it’s worth it to wear my hair natural and not put as much heat to it so it doesn’t break off later in life.
What Instagram pages do you follow for inspiration?
My parents didn’t let me get an Instagram account until I turned 18. ... I follow Sydney Leroux. She’s so inspirational. ... She played on the national team. And now she has a family. And it shows how much soccer impacts your life because she has a lot of friends who are still on the soccer team and they’re just such a good support group for her. And her husband plays soccer, so I just — I just love her. She’s so inspiring to me.
What’s something that we would be surprised to know about you?
I like to read mystery books, like James Patterson novels. I love him. He’s so good. Alex Cross — so good, undefeated. I really like to read those novels in my spare time. I can’t read as much throughout the school year because I’m reading for classes, so when I’m not reading I like to watch TV. Sometimes before I go to bed, I’ll read to distract my mind. And to stay off electronics before I go to bed because that’s what my strength and conditioning coach said.
What TV shows are you watching right now?
“This Is Us.” I watched last week’s. I was like, “who are these people? What is this, who is he?” I was so confused. I was like, “when is it going to get to the people I know and love?” ... We need updates on everyone’s life.
Between now and the end of the semester, what goals do you have outside of academics and athletics?
Make more friends with other athletes. I think a lot of times I just feel like I don’t have the time. And if I do have the time, I like to relax. But I’m going to try and make more of an effort to become friends with other athletes. I’m a Christian, and I’m trying to start going to different Christian groups, but sometimes I’m like, “ugh, I have so much homework.” So, I’m just gonna really try to become friends with more people in the Christian communities because I’ve been in the past and I enjoyed it.
How has your faith helped you with soccer?
I look to God to help me calm down and realize not to worry. I was very stressed (my first year) with all the workouts and homework. He’s shown me that He’s got my back because I’ve made it this far, so He’s going to continue to carry me through. And even if things don’t go right, it’s all gonna be okay in the end. He’s always there and he knows what’s gonna happen. I pray before games. I pray during the national anthem so that I play well and ask Him to help me make a positive impact on the game.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.