No matter what Valerie Patout and Marie Louise Resweber do for the rest of their lives, they will always have one thing in common — they were leaders, they were pioneers and they helped form a varsity soccer program.
Patout and Resweber recently finished their college soccer careers at Holy Cross College in Indiana and in their four years saw the program go from a club sport to a varsity sport with a home in a conference.
“It was great,” said Patout. “We really didn’t succeed as well as I would have wanted to, but it was a good experience to go up and start something and make connections.
“I really only see it going further and better from here and it was good to be on the start of something.”
Patout and Resweber, Catholic High graduates and former members of the Lady Panthers soccer program, both played on the varsity squad at Holy Cross.
Patout played all four years while Resweber played three, having sat out one year due to an ACL injury which cost her junior season.
“It was not what I expected it would be at all when I came here four years ago,” said Resweber. “I had to take a large leadership role on the team. When I went there it was a club team and I didn’t know what a varsity program would mean.”
The two had been playing soccer together since each was about four years old playing at Willow Wood Park. It is only fitting that the two would play soccer together at Catholic High then Holy Cross and spent their final season playing together on defense at the Indiana college.
But getting used to college was not without some challenges.
“It was definitely a challenge,” said Resweber, who not only was a student-athlete but who said she also was in just about every club available on campus. “I had to learn time management in order to get things done and do it all well.”
Resweber graduated in December with a degree in Communications with a minor in global perspectives and will return to work in the admissions office this spring until starting graduate school at LSU in the fall.
“I’m going to be working in marketing, especially social media marking and help develop a new IPhone app for the college,” said Resweber. “After that
Patout, finished this semester doing her student teaching and is returning to Holy Cross in the spring to finish up her degree.
“I loved every second of it,” said Patout. “I’ve always been big on trying new things. I figured if I didn’t like it I could always come home.
“But I fell in love with the people and the community and playing soccer was a big part of that.”
Patout admitted that she was scared at first and didn’t know what to expect, but was open the experience it would provide, even though she almost didn’t go.
“I was going to go to UL (Lafayette) and try to play soccer there,” said Patout. “But Marie was big into Notre Dame and thought that going to Holy Cross would be an entry into Notre Dame.
“But we both fell in love with Holy Cross and stayed.”
Holy Cross is located adjacent to Notre Dame just outside of South Bend, Indiana.
Patout said that at Holy Cross she was able to play soccer, have a job, kept a 3.7 GPA and was able to do what she needed whereas when she talked to others who went to UL who said that after two years didn’t have the time to do all that she was able to do at Holy Cross.
“They accommodated me at Holy Cross,” said Patout.
As for the soccer competition, both admitted that it was not what they expected, it was much, much harder.
Both women said the level of competition they played at Holy Cross was completely different and further developed than they saw at high school.
“It was frustrating but rewarding,” said Patout.
“As seniors and leaders, the younger players looked up to us,” added Resweber, who was very happy that she fought though the struggles of her rehabilitation from her injury and got to play her senior year. “We knew that we were laying the foundation for the future and that one day all that hard work would pay off for the program.”
As for the immediate future, Holy Cross coach Carlos Reynolds has asked Patout to be an assistant coach for a while and the thought intrigues her.
“It might be something that I do,” said Patout, who wants to be a teacher when she finishes in the spring and eventually move back to Louisiana. “I’ll talk to him about it when I go back.
“I think the team has potential and I feel that I’ve been a leader there and the girls there respect me enough that we could go somewhere.”
And both look back at college experience with fond memories and the knowledge that they started something that will eventually have a huge payoff for future women soccer players at Holy Cross.