Like many Cabrini freshmen, two of the most important things during a first college year are academics and social life. Freshman Gia Rebilas from Pennsauken, New Jersey, and Camden Catholic High School deals with both academics and social life while playing on the softball team as a middle fielder, and soccer team as a midfielder.
The challenges of being a dual athlete
For as long as she could remember, Rebilas has always had a love for both softball and soccer.
“I started playing both sports when I was pretty young,” Rebilas said. “When I was younger, soccer was always my main sport and I did softball in the spring to get in shape for fall season soccer. Neither of my parents played soccer but my brother and I both played, so they supported us and learned the game. My dad was a big baseball guy in college and my mom played softball in high school, so they encouraged me and loved the fact I played softball at a young age.”
Being a multisport athlete in college can be extremely difficult, though Rebilas manages to dedicate herself to sports, academics, and all the issues that come with being a college freshman in an impressive way.
“Not going to lie, playing both sports and keeping up with my work is very difficult,” she said. “Especially coming in as a freshman and being right in soccer season, I came in having no clue what to expect. But the fall season did give me a taste of what spring season was going to look like.”
Rebilas’ continuation of her softball career also came as a surprise, her main sport has always been soccer. She originally only committed to Cabrini to play soccer until an idea popped into her head over winter break.
“I played softball all through high school and was joking to my dad over winter break that I was going to join the softball team just because I missed playing. Then, one day I decided to email coach, and he invited me to walk on and try out,” she said.
Being a dual sport athlete, takes up a lot of time throughout the day and makes it difficult to manage other aspects of her life as a student athlete.
However, she uses a time management system to balance the three competing obligations of school, softball, and soccer.
“The advice I would give is to make sure you can manage your time. Going to school then right to a practice or game takes up most of the day. It’s important to find time for schoolwork and maintain good grades. Without good grades you will not be able to play either sport,” said Rebilas.
Softball plus soccer
Rebilas was fortunate enough to make the softball team after her walk-on tryout and she has not looked back since.
“Playing two sports definitely increases my athleticism, but the sports are so different from each other. I wouldn’t call it an advantage on the field. If I had to say it was an advantage, I would say it’s a mental advantage. I would say that just because I’m doing completely different things for each sport,” said Rebilas.
Rebilas says playing both soccer and softball has been a great tool for securing a social life.
“It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because not only do I have my soccer girls, but I also have my softball family too. I came onto the team very late not knowing I’d also make lifelong friends,” she said.
Madison Gugel, junior education major, said of Rebilas, “She is a hardworking and good teammate. She is always full of energy and brings good vibes to the team.”
Junior pitcher Avery Byrnes agreed. “Gia is a very upbeat, enthusiastic, and positive teammate, and is always there to pick people up when they are down. I can’t even imagine having to play two sports in college, but she does a great job of managing it. I have never once heard her complain about balancing both soccer and softball,” she said.
There are many student athletes around the world who play more than one sport and choosing which sport you want to play in college can be a very difficult, even heartbreaking, decision.
However, Rebilas offers a prime example of what it takes to remain a well-rounded college student while taking on a multipart athletic challenge.