Transfer student 'go-to-girl' on and off the field
Published: Monday, August 29, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 10:09
When Kristina Stammer found out she was pregnant in the fall of 2008, her first thoughts were about soccer, the sport she loved and was naturally talented at.
"The first thing that popped into my head was ‘oh my god, will I be able to play soccer," said the now 22-year-old transfer student.
Stammer joins Point Park University's women's soccer team this semester as a sophomore transfer from Sierra Community College in Rocklin, California, where she started a major of criminal justice. One of the reasons she transferred to Point Park was because it had her major.
"I read a lot about the program here, so I know if I was going to come here I would still be able to study my major," Stammer said.
Stammer comes to Point Park with multiple scholarships, including a soccer scholarship, an academic scholarship for her high GPA from Sierra College and a scholarship for being part of Phi Theta Kappa, a national honor society for leadership and academics.
She found out about Point Park because of family ties in the Pittsburgh area, including family living right outside the city. Stammer moved to the city in the beginning of August to live with her sister in Beaver County to settle in and start preseason with the soccer team. Moving along with her was her son, Jayden Stammer, who turned two in May.
"At first I was afraid that the soccer team wouldn't like me too much because I carry baggage [my son], but the team is so great," Stammer said. "Everyone is really nice, and they're very understanding."
After Stammer found out she was pregnant in California, she made sure she stayed fit during her pregnancy. She walked every day, and just two months after having her son Jayden in May 2009, Stammer was back on the playing field. In January 2010, Stammer started at Sierra College.
Last fall, she tried out and made the women's soccer team at her school. Over the course of her first season back playing competitively, Stammer made the Big 8 All Conference team and the Big 8 All Academic team. When she was not playing college soccer, she was playing on a coed team for the city of Roseville, California. Both on and off the field, Stammer was a leader and example in California.
"I played with her for a year, and I wish it was longer," said friend and former teammate Kyleah Rozario, who played on the Sierra College team with Stammer.
Rozario recounts Stammer as a player that always pushed 100 percent efforts no matter what and is a player "you want on your team and pray you never have to be playing against."
Off the field, Rozario said Stammer always puts her son Jayden's needs before her own.
"Kristina is loving and caring [to Jayden] but she doesn't coddle him," Rozario said. "[Point Park] is truly lucky to get such an amazing player, person and mom."
When Stammer decided on Point Park, she filled out a form to play soccer and soon talked to Mark Platts, the women's soccer coach. Since her move to Pittsburgh, Stammer has been adjusting well and has hit it off with her new teammates.
"As soon as I saw her I knew she was going to be an intense soccer player," said teammate Emily Levier, a sophomore sport, arts and entertainment management major. Levier describes Stammer as fierce on the field but "down to earth and sweet natured" off the field.
Stammer has also made an impression with her teammates as a motivator and strong competitor, and she is ready for the season.
"My goal for this year is to do my personal best," Stammer said, "but I also want to help put Point Park on the map for soccer because it's such a great school."
Stammer has also played soccer with her sister, Deanna, who she lives in Beaver County. Deanna Stammer calls her sister "the go-to girl" on the field and the one that everyone looked to for help.
"She can play any position at any time. She's fast and has great ball control, and I believe she will be a great fit at Point Park," Deanna Stammer said.
Other than soccer, Stammer has a passion for helping crime victims, which is why she chose a criminal justice major. Her goals reach as high as departments in Homeland Security, but she just wants to help people and victims of crime as much as she can.
"Kristina has a good and warm heart that allows her to help people," Deanna Stammer said. "If she goes into law enforcement I believe she will succeed."
Stammer has high hopes for the season and strives to continue playing soccer as much as she can. She has already begun teaching Jayden to play soccer, and he is met her teammates at Point Park.
"When we had the opportunity to meet Jayden we were all so excited," Levier said. "You can tell her talents and patience on the field directly relate to the relationship her and her son share."
Stammer is excited about this season and already feels like part of the team, and she has already made a lasting impression on those around her. Her passion for soccer has led her to Pittsburgh, where she will continue her major and be a leader in her life.