Ashley Spivey knew she wanted to live in the Sunshine State someday, and the two-time Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year and six-time state champion made her dream come true two years ago.
After spending her freshman and sophomore years at the University of Maryland, the women’s soccer midfielder transferred to UCF in 2013.
“When I decided to leave, I knew I wanted to come to school in Florida because I have always wanted to live in Florida. I just love the sun and the beach,” Spivey said. “So when it was coming down to schools, it was just like, ‘What school in Florida has the best business program and the best soccer team?’”
Tied for third in the NCAA with four game-winning goals this season, it’s safe to say the senior made the correct choice.
Spivey is tied for the No. 30 Knights’ goal-scoring lead this season with five in eight games and had the most productive scoring year of her collegiate career last season with a team-second 10 goals in 23 games.
A highly touted player in high school, Spivey played for the United States U17 World Cup qualifying team in Costa Rica in 2010.
She said the trip was humbling and that it was a good experience to play with, and get to know, such great players. But she didn’t receive much playing time because she was the youngest on the team.
She received playing time and saw success in both years as a Terrapin, though, becoming the team’s second-leading scorer in 2013.
In her first year with the Knights, Spivey was recovering from a knee injury she suffered in practice while at Maryland.
That injury cut her 2013 season and her career as a Terrapin short.
Despite coming off the injury and moving to a new position, she played a big role in the Knights’ Sweet 16 appearance last season.
“Being versatile is a strength of mine because I played center forward last year,” Spivey said. “I played outside mid at Maryland, and now I’m at center mid here.
“Having such a great coach in Tiff and being coachable and being adaptive to what she needs me to do helps my success in whatever I need to play to be the best for my team.”
With only three returning starters from last year’s team and just five seniors, the Knights look to Spivey in the midfield to produce and distribute.
“Being a senior and having been with this program for a year, she is definitely a player who we look to now and that we have to depend on to perform day in and day out,” head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said.
Spivey plans to graduate in fall 2016 with an accounting degree.
Her plans after graduation are not set in stone, but she would like to go overseas to play soccer professionally.
Matthew Saunders is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.