CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Each Tuesday through the women’s soccer season, will feature alumnae of the program in celebration of the program’s 20th campaign in 2013. Former players were selected at random for the Q&A and the plan was to include all eras of the program, dating back to its inception in 1994.

This week’s edition features Danielle Mayeaux (2007-10). Mayeaux, a Collierville, Tenn., native, played two seasons for Jon Lipsitz before concluding her career with two years under John Cullen. She started 82 of the 87 games in which she played throughout her tenure with the Niners, scoring 12 goals and adding nine assists for 33 points. Three of her goals were game winners. She also added 82 shots during her career.

1. What factors led to your decision to attend Charlotte?
Charlotte was one of the first schools that contacted me at the beginning of the recruiting period. Since I was determined to play soccer at a SEC school and since I knew nothing about Charlotte, the multiple hand-written letters and brochures are what really made my interest grow for the school. After gathering more information, Charlotte became my very first college recruiting visit. I did not know really what to expect but was extremely impressed when I got there. Coach Jon Lipsitz, Sari Rose and the team welcomed me with open arms and immediately made me feel like I was a part of the family. The campus and area had a unique feel. The student-athlete experience seemed to be something that the staff truly valued and was there to make a difference. It was this feel that made you see the potential for growth and success. When I left, I was intrigued but needed to visit some SEC schools. After those recruiting visits and to my surprise, Charlotte was at top of my list. 

The main factors that kept Charlotte at the top were:
-The soccer facilities were in IDEAL locations. No other school had multiple practice fields, a locker room, a playing pitch and a weight room all in one spot. This was one of the BIGGEST factors. At Charlotte, soccer was respected.
-The campus was close to a city and it was not just a “college town”.
-I felt comfortable when I was around the team and I knew I was going to be challenged on and off the field…some would say that it felt like it was the best “fit”.
-I knew I would be in an environment that would help me grow from an academic point of view.
-The motto of “Family, Pride, Success” was so true.
-I was going against the grain of my family. I was the first person not to go to LSU. I love being different.

2. How did you see yourself grow as a soccer player and as a person during your collegiate career?
My four years at Charlotte were not just growth but a transformation. Since I was 13 hours away from home and knew no one coming into my freshman year, I was forced outside of my comfort zone from the moment I got there. Being a part of a fall team in college really is a special thing because you make friends before any other freshmen. From a freshman to a senior, I truly was driven and committed to athletic and academic success. I saw myself turn into someone who was not scared of putting myself out there to take chances and see where life brings me. I was able to create relationships with so many people (teammates, members of the 49ers staff, etc.). Many of these people had such an impact on my life. It was these bonds at Charlotte that truly helped me grow into the person that I am today.  

As a soccer player, I grew a ridiculous love for soccer. Every day I woke up ready to train, ready to work for my team and ready to get better. I was determined to put in the work so that I could be one of the 11 on the pitch come Friday night and Sunday. This time with soccer allowed my leadership skills to ooze out of me. It was such a natural fit that allowed me to improve in so many ways. As the years went by, the concept “living the dream” became more and more apparent and appreciated. As student-athletes, the growth comes in a unique way. It is a maturing process that not only happens on the field but also happens off the field.       

As a person over my four-year career, I was able to develop a purpose. Like most college student-athletes, I went through many ups and downs. I experienced some of the toughest obstacles, but in the end, I was able to overcome them and move forward. These situations forced me out of my shell. They forced me to set priorities. I was able to improve from failure and grow from success. Also, I was able to just have fun. Charlotte is an amazing place for young adults to live. There is always something do and there is always a new place to explore.

3. What are some of your fondest memories of playing soccer with the 49ers?
-Beating Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2008 on Fetzer Field and playing the game of my life. And then playing UNC Chapel Hill in the second round.
-My very first preseason…I will never forget how I felt after being one of the only freshmen to pass the Illinois fitness test. Coming in fit that year set me up for a successful freshman season.
-Friday night games at Transamerica field in October. And then walking back to the locker room after these games…best feeling ever-cool, crisp, fall feel. 
-Two selection shows and being recognized at the basketball games.
-The competitive practices…everyone always came ready to work and ready to win. We pushed each other to the limit each and everyday. 
-Walking up the big hill after practice in order to make it to my classes.
-My time with SAAC – it was the time when I had the most interaction with the administrative staff. For some reason, Kim Whitestone left the biggest impression on me. She was a leader in so many ways for student-athletes. I can honestly say that she is one of the main reasons I started working in college athletics.
-The support from the entire Charlotte community.
-Away games and the traveling – the movie time, the gossip, the snacks, and the nerves. Also, the times we would visit my teammates houses if they were close to the teams we were playing.
-All the dancing that we did in the locker room before every game. I would lead the team in the Cupid Shuffle.
-The life-long relationships – teammates struggle, succeed, laugh, cry, etc., together…bottom line is you develop relationships where everyone just gets each other.

4. How often do you play soccer these days?
Last year, I played everyday because I was the Director of Soccer Operations for the Memphis women’s soccer team. I took the position at Memphis in order to decide if I wanted to become a coach. I came back to McNeese State in May. I try to get a few touches on the ball one or two times throughout the week.  

5. Where are you currently living (city, state)?
-Lake Charles, La.

6. What is your current occupation?
-Director of Marketing and Ticketing at McNeese State University

7. Do you have any family (husband/kids/pets)?

8. What advice would you offer to a current 49ers women’s soccer player?
-Never sell yourself short
-Be a color and accelerate at the fork
-Enjoy the moment and know that as a student-athlete, you are truly living the dream
-You can’t hoot with the owls at night and expect to soar with the eagles during the day