From Soccer to Marketing: UST Graduate Takes on a New Field
By Brittani Wright
Communication graduate and admired student-athlete Rachael Bell left her footprint on the University of St. Thomas soccer field. She now turns her attention to the business of sports as she hones her job skills with her newly minted Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a minor in marketing.
Bell parlayed her student internship social media position with Athlete Training and Health into a full-time position as a junior marketing coordinator.
Her dream is to own a sports performance gym and to combine her experience on the playing field with her sports industry marketing and communications knowledge.
“You have to do a lot of training in soccer. Being around other athletes and working in the industry I'm in now helped me realize how important it is to condition athletes. It’s encouraged me to start a business in this industry.”
The Making of a Student-Athlete
Bell immediately fell in love with the game of soccer at a young age, taking on the field at four years old. Over the years, she has learned the thrill of the sport and competition.
Along the way, Bell has many memorable moments on the field. “One of my favorite soccer moments is at UST when the team won the championship my junior year.” Bell said. “I’ll never forget those feelings of excitement. Soccer challenges you to think of ways to better yourself and ways to push your teammates to better themselves.”
Bell took those challenges to heart and excelled at both sportsmanship and leadership.
“Throughout her student-athlete career, Rachael repeatedly embodied the five core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship,” Women’s Soccer Coach Nik Barjaktarevic said.
Celt Pride and Recognition
In her senior year, Bell was team captain when the team won the first ever Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Tournament championship and a trip to the NAIA National Tournament in 2017. Bell also scored the first goal at that tournament.
“There were a lot of firsts for Rachael and her teammates,” Coach Barjaktarevic said.
- All-Conference Tournament in 2018
- RRAC Champions of Character Team in 2015 and 2017
- RRAC All-Tournament Team 2015, 2017, 2018
- Coach’s Honor Roll in 2017
- UST Athletics Champions of Character Award in 2016-2017
- NAIA Champions of Character Award in 2017
Her teammates also bestowed honor on her when they voted Bell the recipient of four consecutive Celt Awards in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, which goes to a player who embodies the spirit of a quintessential UST women’s soccer player. A player who is a fighter in a positive way.
In addition to the Celt Awards, Bell earned additional accolades. Her hard work on the field earned her recognition as the most valuable team player at the 2018-2019 Women’s Soccer Team Awards.
Rachael’s position on the field was defensive midfielder. “Rachael might not have been a flashy player everyone notices when they see our team play, but day in and day out she puts in the work,” Coach Barjaktarevic said. “She makes her defensive presence known as a ball winner and relentless worker. Those who come and watch our games usually go home with a new appreciation for our #14.”
A Role Model On and Off the Field
Coach Barjaktarevic notes Bell’s achievements on the field are noteworthy but what impressed him more was her selfless giving off the field to the campus and community. “Rachael is one of the players that helped define our women’s soccer program,” Coach Barjaktarevic said. “She was a relentless leader for our team and someone everyone could count on to work hard and be there for the team, but she was also involved off the field.
“Rachael has a trusting, compassionate personality and takes her time to invest in relationships with her teammates. She is an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an organization that serves local communities around the globe by empowering coaches and athletes to unite and change the world through the gospel. It’s great to have someone like Rachael, who will serve as a role model for future Celts student-athletes, especially women soccer players, at UST,” he said.
UST has definitely taken notice of Rachael’s fearless and bold spirit.