Congratulations to student-athlete Delia Rabatin '21 on her commitment to American University!
Earlier this year, student-athlete and fall 2020 Gold Medal recipient Delia Rabatin '21 committed to continuing her field hockey career at American University — a D-I university in Washington, D.C.
By any standards, this is a tremendous commitment for an athlete, but amidst a global pandemic and the heartbreak of canceled athletic seasons, this is nothing less than a phenomenal feat. Next year we will miss seeing her on and off the field, but we are Pioneer Proud of Delia and all she will accomplish.
We connected with Delia to talk about her commitment and why she chose American University.
When and why did you officially commit to AU?
On August 22, I verbally committed to playing field hockey at AU. I spoke with the coach earlier that week and then emailed accepting the offer. AU was the only D-I school in my college search. I also focused on several D-3 schools.
I first came upon AU when I was looking at field hockey clinics to attend over the summer. It appealed to me because it was about an hour from my hometown, and it is in the heart of D.C. When I toured campus, it was rich in diversity, and the school encourages students to discover all that D.C. offers. AU also has so many interdisciplinary and specific majors that interest me like CLEG (Communications, Law, Economics, Government) or Public Relations Strategic Communications. The opportunities are endless!
How long have you been playing field hockey?
I started playing field hockey when I was very little — 5 or 6 years old. Field hockey is a big sport in Fredericksburg, VA, which is where I grew up. My sister and I first played it through Parks and Recreation, and I remember always loving it.
When did you know you wanted to continue playing field hockey in college?
I honestly didn't think about playing field hockey in college until I got to WRA. I love the sport and before coming to Reserve, I played club year round and in many tournaments. After talking to a lot of friends who were playing field hockey in college, I knew I wanted to continue field hockey after high school.
I am most excited to grow as a field hockey player because the AU coach is knowledgeable, enthusiastic and he encourages his athletes to make mistakes on the field. D-I will be extremely different from Reserve sports but I am so fortunate to have a head coach at Reserve who previously coached a D-I team, so I can ask questions and get one-on-one help.
Can you tell us a bit about AU's field hockey program?
I talked to a couple of AU alumni and current AU field hockey players, and they had nothing but good things to say about the school or the program. The first time stepping on the field for a clinic, there were only five other girls plus the three coaches. It was extremely personal, so there was no hiding. The coaches really got to see me as a player, and I really got to see them as coaches.
Leaving that clinic, I knew AU was my number one school, and I wanted to play there. I never felt more comfortable in front of college coaches than at AU, and it was fun! The head coach incorporated so many aspects of the game, mentally and physically, that I never thought about. The coaches really encourage their players to take risks and push themselves on the field and in the classroom. They encourage their athletes to play in clubs and other activities outside of field hockey, which I love.
The environment the coaches set really works, and it shows because they won the 2019 Patriot League Championship game, making it their 11th Patriot League Title win. They are a successful team that works hard but has fun while doing it.
How does this commitment change your senior year?
It's less pressure on my shoulders because a lot of the pressure comes from going to tournaments to get recruited, communicating with coaches, and figuring out what schools will be the best academic and athletic fit for me.
Of course, there is still pressure that I put on myself to work even harder and push myself to the next level. This is not a normal time, regarding the pandemic, so there is still a lot of uncertainty with what next year might look like, but the coaches still want to see me working hard inside the classroom and on the field, so when I start college at AU, I'll feel strong.
What did your family say when they found out you made your decision?
I owe so much credit to my parents. My parents have traveled back and forth from Ohio to Virginia to see my games and transport me to recruiting tournaments throughout my entire time at Reserve. They have never stopped supporting me and have always encouraged me to chase after what I want.
When they saw me play at the clinic over the summer last year at AU and they saw how happy I was after stepping onto the campus for the first time, they knew AU was my dream school. When I received the offer to play at AU over the summer, they couldn't have been more proud of me. Once I accepted the offer, my entire family was so happy for me and even happier that they would get to continue to see me play and grow even closer to home!