Sari Frankl commits to Fordham University



Following four years on the girls varsity soccer team and numerous club teams, Sari Frankl has built a reputation as both a strong player and leader.

In nearly all realms of life, success is achieved, not given. The success of an athlete is a product of their passion, work ethic and desire after years of perseverance and sacrifice. Senior and GVS captain Sari Frankl has embraced this process with open arms and recently committed to play Division I soccer at Fordham University.

Soccer was always important to Frankl’s family and her career as a soccer player began as soon as she could walk. She was playing competitively by the age of six years old.

“It was a big part of my family. My parents met at a World Cup, so I was brought up in the soccer world,” Frankl said.

Charlton MacVeagh, Frankl’s first soccer coach, said that her love for soccer was apparent from a very early age.

“The first time I met her she was in first grade. I was doing a training session for 2nd and 3rd graders at Cypress Field and she was walking by with her dad. She was staring at us, almost drooling at the sight of us playing soccer,” MacVeagh said. “I told her dad that she was welcome to join us that day, and for the rest of the Sundays that spring, she jumped in and was the best player in the group.”

Throughout her career, Frankl said she has always received support from her family and friends, regardless of success or failure. This support has played a major role in her progress.

Senior Sophia Grossman, a close friend of Frankl’s, has also been recruited to a collegiate athletic program and said she understands the process. She said she has always been motivated by Frankl’s unwaning determination and stressed the importance of the help they have received from each other.

“Sari and I have always supported each other. We both love our sports and really wanted to compete in college. We went through the lows and highs of the long recruitment process together and it has meant everything,” Grossman wrote. “Sari also brings insane grit to the game. She was a force on the field when she was six, and her intensity and determination has somehow only grown. Having a friend going through something similar makes all the difference in keeping a positive mindset.”

Frankl said that intergender competition played a major role in her early career and that it also helped her excel past most other competition she faced. When Frankl switched from a girls soccer team to a boys soccer team, she felt it was the right thing to do. She said that she has always had an innate desire to outcompete the “rival gender, the boys” which helped boost her skill set from a young age.

“Girls are inherently taught passivity in sports rather than aggression. They’re not taught to shove from an early age. When I went to the boys team, the coaches had no problem with me kicking their butts. I could slam their face into the ground and it was encouraged,” Frankl said. “If I did that with the girls, the coaches would be like ‘calm down, what are you doing?’ This really helped my physical game and competitiveness.”

Frankl said that differing levels of competitiveness between boys and girls soccer stem from different methods of coaching used by girls’ programs versus boys’ programs, where girls are taught to be tame and respectful while boys are taught to be competitive and aggressive.

“It’s a coaching failure that girls’ coaches aren’t intervening, saying ‘I don’t want you to apologize,’ or ‘that’s the game, you’re playing to win.’ For this reason, my experience playing with boys instead of girls helped long term because I already had that baseline physicality that most girls didn’t have when I transitioned back to girls soccer in high school,” Frankl said.

Frankl said the game of soccer tests an athlete’s mental toughness in all aspects of the game. A player is faced with constant opposition throughout every stage of their career, especially the recruitment process, and it is their ability to stand up and continue climbing which makes them stand out.

“The recruiting process in particular is designed to break the player. If you’re not strong enough or good enough, you will be rejected from a school. You need to be able to mentally ignore a coach’s rejection and bounce back at your best. I had to overcome these obstacles of rejection and continue telling myself that I was good enough and all I could do was move on,” Frankl said.

Frankl said she has found the training process to be most rewarding for her. Scoring a goal or making a team are material successes that should be celebrated but not focused on. A successful athlete focuses on the process toward scoring the goal or securing a recruitment. This process, filled with intangibles like a workout or a pass that leads to a goal, is what Frankl said she is most proud of.

“The most rewarding thing is getting through the overall process. The two years I spent in the recruitment process were the hardest points in my life, both mentally and physically. Everyday going home, my body would hurt and with the addition of homework, the whole aspect of being a student-athlete was a struggle, but I did get through it and it’s incredibly satisfying to know I accomplished something big that ‘little me’ always wanted,” Frankl said.

MacVeagh said Frankl is a dedicated and focused player, never accepting her current talent and always striving to be a better player. He said that Frankl’s tenacity has been an unwavering trait throughout her athletic career.

“She asked me at the end of 6th grade what she needed to do to be a great player. I explained what she had to do next. A year later, we met at Downes and she had completed that task. She has followed that pattern for the last five years, always taking advice and always doing the work,” MacVeagh said.

On the field, Frankl said she has two jobs. She plays attacking midfield, so she helps on the counter attack, creating offense through transitions and turnovers. Her other job is the leading role as a team captain. As a captain, she is tasked to lead off-season practices, motivate her teammates, and set a good example for the other players on and off the field.

“At the beginning of the year, we were experiencing a coaching change, so we didn’t have a set coach until the end of August. Without a coach, my other captains and I had to set up preseason practices and development programs over the summer and figure out how to keep the team in shape for the season without the help of a coach,” Frankl said. “During the season, we had a really great run. That was only possible because we worked so hard to build the community aspect of the team in organizing movie nights or dinners and really becoming a family which is rare in any other girls sports.”

As Frankl continues her athletic career past high school to Fordham, she does not entirely know what to expect but she will continue to train every day until preseason begins and she is excited for the road ahead of her.

MacVeagh, who is equally proud of her accomplishments, said he has advice for Frankl on the field or in the gym.

“Find joy in soccer,” MacVeagh said. “It may take 40 hours a week and feel like a grind, but the meaning is created by finding the joy. Continue to find it in everything that you do.”