Following a tough senior season at Iona College, Marra stepped back from competitive play feeling she needed a break. But following what could be best described a remarkable season for the Rough Riders and Marra herself, the Sayville resident is now looking for her next opportunity in soccer.
The UWS East Conference Player of the Year and a member of the All-League First Team Starting XI, Marra’s play throughout the season at defense and midfield was a key reason for the Rough Riders winning the East Conference championship.
In a recent interview with SleterFC.com, Marra discussed the 2017 UWS season and what she would like to do moving forward.
SLETERFC.COM: What were your expectations coming into the season?
KIM MARRA: I came into the season looking to get some playing time and hopefully a starting spot. Coach Adam (Whitehead) did a great job creating a competitive environment but also bringing the team together. When we started winning early on in the season we felt we had a shot to finish at the top. As the season went on we continued to get better and better.
SFC.COM: Since playing for Iona in the fall of 2015, what were you doing to remain active in soccer?
KM: After graduating I was working and coaching for my old club team with SUSA Academy. I had a hectic schedule and wasn’t able to commit to playing with the Rough Riders in 2016. But I stayed in contact with former teammates and would play in tournaments throughout the year.
Melissa Guglielmo, our goalie, was the one to push me to attend a practice (with the Rough Riders). I thought it might be a good idea and decided to give it a shot. The rest is history. Playing with the Rough Riders was a great environment and was so much fun.
SFC.COM: Were you surprised by the skill level of the Rough Riders roster?
KM: I was really surprised. I knew a bunch of the girls from playing against them over the years. But while there was a lot of individual skill on the team, what made us successful was that we were able to come together and develop strong team chemistry. We were very good individually but better collectively.
SFC.COM: What allowed the team to gel so quickly?
KM: First off, Coach Adam from the start created a competitive environment on the field, but also encouraged us to go out as a team and get together before practice. As a result we became closer on the field. But this is something that is not easy to do over the summer. But the players were on board and wanted to come away from the season with a championship.
SFC.COM: Was there a moment when you thought the team could have a special season?
KM: I’m not sure if there was one moment. I think early on in the season we had a trip to Niagara University to play the Western NY Flash and then played Rochester the next day. We were on the bus for hours traveling together and knew that we had something good. After that weekend, our level of play never dropped off and we kept getting better and better.
[ • RELATED: Rough Riders Coach Whitehead Reflects On 2017 Season ]
SFC.COM: At the end of the season, the Rough Riders needed to win its final two games at home to the finals. How did the team handle the pressure?
KM: It’s funny, but that whole week was a blur. It never felt like pressure and we knew what we had to do and that it was all in our hands. Against the (New York) Magic we went down a goal and knew we didn’t come out like we should. But we settled down and won that game and won Sunday (against Lancaster Inferno). It was really about taking one game at a time.
SFC.COM: In the East finals against New Jersey, the Rough Riders completely dominated. What happened?
KM: We came off our two wins over the weekend to get to the finals and we were hyped. They were the home team and the defending champions, but it was up to us to take advantage of them if they didn’t come out strong. It was our best game of the season and we were the type of team that once we scored, we just kept scoring. We dominated the game and it was awesome to be a part of it.
SFC.COM: The trip to Grand Rapids and the UWS playoffs had a disappointing ending for the Rough Riders. How was the overall experience?
KM: Losing in penalties is the worst way to lose. It doesn’t feel fair when you lose but feels great when you win. But for us, it was a great experience to make it that far. I was happy with how we played and it was an all around great experience.
SFC.COM: What does it mean for you to receive so many post-season accolades?
KM: I’m honored and humbled by it all. Receiving the Team of the Week honors throughout the season were great. And I was honored to represent the team by winning the East Conference Player of the Year award. It was awesome to receive that award and I was shocked but also proud of myself to be named to the All UWS Team.
SFC.COM: With the season now over, what’s next for you?
KM: Throughout the season I started thinking what could be next and spoke to Coach Adam and others to get some advice. I would like to attend an open tryout for an NWSL team.
Favorite Professional Team(s): The United States Women’s National Team, Barcelona, Orlando Pride
Favorite Player(s): Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, Ali Krieger, Alex Morgan
Dream Match to Attend: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Brazil