CORVALLIS, Ore. (BVM) – Everyone needs a side hobby, something to keep them busy in the down times of the day, to take their mind off of their main profession or just trying something new every once in a while. For Oregon State soccer player Madison Ellsworth, finding a new side hobby wasn’t as hard as she thought it would be.
“As a college athlete, if you are just doing your sport all of the time, your life kind of gets drained,” Ellsworth said when talking about the struggles of being locked down. “At the very beginning of COVID, me and my teammates weren’t able to do anything team related, and it was a really strange time. We all almost felt like normal people again. We didn’t have lives because of COVID, so we had to come up with things on our own.”
Ellsworth feels very passionate about diversity and inclusion, and she made the time out of her days to be involved locally in Corvallis.
“Obviously everything was on Zoom, but we held virtual forums where people from student athletes to alumni would participate in DAM Change,” Ellsworth said of the program designed to bring awareness regarding systemic racism in today’s society which she and many other student athletes have jumpstarted. “Although it was all virtual, these are things I am passionate about, and I see myself doing similar things in the future. It was definitely nice focusing on that for a while, but at the same time I am very happy to be back playing soccer.
“Our team had to stay ready for a Fall 2020 season after the Spring 2020 season got cancelled” Ellsworth said, who felt drained preparing for a season that wasn’t even confirmed to be played or not. “Our coaching staff told us to be prepared for the fall season, so we had to go 100% in preparation for potentially having a season, and that was a lot on our team.”
She eventually found out that the Fall 2020 season was never going to be, and her hard work and training was all for nothing.
“We ended up having a Spring 2021 season, but there were no fans for a while until they allowed us two fans per player.”
Looking forward to her Fall 2021 season has been a long time coming for Ellsworth.
“We had to report back in July, then our pre-season training started in the beginning of August, followed by the first preseason games two weeks later.”
Ellsworth and the rest of her team made their regular season debut at USC on Friday, September 24th down in Los Angeles.
Ellsworth’s dream career path will include playing soccer overseas/internationally, for at least a year or two, while also becoming a part of a major company’s diversity and inclusion program.
“I would love to experience something new for a little while, and playing overseas has been a dream of mine for a while.” Ellsworth said. “Following that, I just want to be involved in bettering lives for a major organization.”
Ever since Ellsworth returned to the practice field in preparation for the season, there was something a little different about the idea of college athletes: NIL deals. Names Image and Likeness deals have taken over college sports, and Oregon State is no different.
“I know full–time football athletes here at OSU that are providing for their families, along with going to school and playing a sport. Most don’t have free time, so these new benefits will help out a lot of people.” Ellsworth said, who herself also has a little side deal as an ambassador. “On the side I am an ambassador for Celsius, and although I don’t get money for it, I do get a lot of products from the brand.”
Celsius is an energy drink brand, which has become very popular on campus in Corvallis. With the NIL deals comes a little bit of picking and choosing.
“It depends on the popularity of the athlete, along with the school and the sport program. Like for example, an Oregon State soccer player isn’t going to get as much out of a deal as an University of Alabama football player. Regardless, players don’t just get deals out of nowhere, you have to have a certain amount of popularity.”