CHATHAM, NJ - The way Emily Walczyk sees it, there is something about soccer that makes her feel like she is free to be creative, more than in the other sports she plays.
"in soccer, there is just so much space," Walczyk said. "The basketball court is much smaller, relatively, and in soccer I just have room to roam and be creative. In basketball there are set plays to run, whereas in soccer there is so much room to be creative and do what you want. I really like that part of the game."
Walczyk was at her creative best when it came to goal scoring recently. On Oct. 2, the senior striker scored three goals in the first 20 minutes of action in Chatham's 3-2 soccer victory over Hun. A few days earlier, she had two goals and an assist in a 3-0 triumph over Mountain Lakes.
Emily Walczyk is the TAP Chatham Athlete of the Week.
"Against Hun, I got the assists from Laura Barber and Krista McKenzie," Walczyk said. "I remember they just rolled me in two great balls and I just happened to place them in at the right time. For those 10 minutes, I was on fire. It came from a lot of support from my teammates. It wasn't just me. It was a whole team effort."
Walczyk, a guard on the basketball team and an outfielder for the softball team, has made her mark on the soccer field with a powerful left-footed shot. Because of her power, she always seems to be in scoring position.
"I definitely look to go to my left, but, believe it or not, I have scored righty goals in my career," Walczyk said. "Ever since I was little, I was out in my backyard, practicing my corner kicks with my dad. I had a longer kick even when I was younger because I was used to practicing it."
A midfielder for her first three years, Chatham coach Chris Mazurkiewicz move her to the forward line this season and the co-captain has produced a team-leading eight goals.
"She's done a really nice job of turning it on and picking us up in really big spots, where we need a great ball or we need to put the ball in the back of the net," Mazurkiewicz said. "She's put the team on her back a number of times this season and really stepped up in that leadership role and led by example on the field.
"She' a smart kid and she knows how to play the game. She's dangerous from 30 feet in and she's going to be a big part of our success for the rest of our season."
As a three-sport varsity player at CHS in soccer, basketball and softball, Walczyk is never far away from her next sporting event or practice. She plays club soccer year round as well.
"It's nice to get all the stresses out for the day by playing sports," Walczyk said. "I have a little fun and take the pressure off. Even though games can be stressful and it's disappointing when you lose, at the end, I just have so much fun with it. That's why I do it."
Even when Walczyk isn't playing a sport, she's playing something.
"I play the piano," she said. "I've been playing since the third grade. When I get home from games, I love to play."
Emily Walczyk talks about why soccer is the favorite of the three sports she plays in video below