August 25, 2010

Julia Speace: A Great Example

Aug. 25, 2010

Julia Speace, a senior defender on the UCSB women's soccer team, understands time management. With all the roles she is juggling, she had better understand time management.

As if school, soccer and a burgeoning career as a sportswriter weren't enough, Speace also devotes herself extensively to charity work, something that began when she was at Santa Margarita High School.

"I came from a Catholic high school, so I was extensively involved in charity work through that" she said. "I was able to really extend myself to the community through my work."

Among the charities that Speace has become involved in is Soccer for Hope, which was developed by one of the coaches for her soccer club, West Coast Futbol. Through the program she and her teammates put on camps for kids as well as pay visits to Children's Hospital of Orange County and other hospitals. In addition, Speace has been a part of Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Worker and the Surfrider Foundation.

"I became involved with Surfrider my freshman year of high school and have been volunteering with them ever since," Speace said. "My community has seasonal beach clean-ups that I attend and I do administrative work for them too."

While she realizes that one person can't change everything that's wrong with the world, Speace finds solace in knowing that she is not alone.

"The rewarding part is knowing that there are others like myself out there that do this (charity work) for a living, on a daily basis," she said. "It is because of my trust in them that I have faith that we can slowly, but surely, improve our world and communities."

Even with all the time she spends working with charities, Speace has excelled as a student. A three-time Golden Eagle Award-winner for academic achievement, she is majoring in communication studies and aspires to become a sportswriter.

"I have always had a passion for sports, and I am always the only girl watching SportsCenter in the morning," Speace said. "I follow almost every sport, and like to be kept up-to-date on team and individual player news, as well as analysis."

Her goal? To be on the other side of the flow of sports information as a sportswriter.

"I have enjoyed writing for a long time and thought that combining two things I enjoy so much had the potential to make for an enjoyable job," she said. "I have already made contacts with various editors and writers in both my hometown (San Clemente, Calif.) and in Santa Barbara. I plan on using those contacts to break into the business of sports journalism, whether starting out as a beat writer or columnist."

Speace has already written extensively for UCSB's Daily Nexus, she writes a blog for UCSBgauchos.com and she has been an on-air personality at KCSB, the campus radio station.

As far as her soccer career is concerned, Speace was a reserve when she arrived in Santa Barbara for the 2007 season. After a series of injuries to teammates, she was thrust into the starting lineup where she has remained ever since. It did, however, take her some time to feel comfortable starting at the Division I level.

"I felt the girls were bigger, better, or a combination of the two," she recalled. "Over time though, as I increasingly got more playing time, I became more comfortable. And not just on the field, but with the girls around me as well. It helps a lot when you feel like you can be yourself around your teammates, and the more I was able to play with them, the more I was able to find myself fitting in and feeling like I belonged."

Clearly, she belongs. Speace has helped the Gauchos to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and she's hoping to find the time to help them to another one in 2010. Don't be surprised if she can work that into her busy schedule too.

Speace also spent time to answer some questions about herself.

1. What are your favorite things to do when you're not playing soccer?
"Watching "Real Housewives" from wherever. Not O.C.- those ladies are past their primes. Hanging out (I know, lame), tracking Lauren Conrad's catapult to fame, making sure it stays at its peak through following her tweets, being active in different ways, like volleyball, running, etc."

2. If you could have dinner with any three people throughout history, who would they be?
"Lauren Conrad, Princess Diana, John Adams."

3. What is your favorite class that you have taken at UCSB?
"Media Comm.

4. Who is your favorite UCSB professor?
"Charles Mullin."

5. If all but three shows were taken off of all TV networks, which three would you like to see spared?
"Glee, All Housewives- because I count them as 1 TV show-, Man v. Food.

6. What is your all-time favorite movie?
"Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion."

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
"Lugano, Switzerland."

8. To you, what would be the perfect meal?
"Meatloaf, Meatballs, and Pineapple. In that order."

9. What was the last song you loaded onto your IPod?
"Marina and the Diamonds- I am not a Robot."

10. Who are your role models?
"The women of my family- mother, grandmother, sister, aunt. Throw in my dad for a little spice.

11. If you could trade lives with one person, for one day, who would it be?
"I swear it would be Lauren Conrad but that's a given- so I am going to say President Obama, just to see how much I can improve upon what he has done."

12. Do you have any pregame rituals?
"I say a little prayer during the National Anthem.

13. What is your favorite professional sports team?
"Somehow still the San Antonio Spurs. Love the Big Fundamental.

14. If a movie was made about your life, who would play you?
"Lindsay Lohan- pre catastrophic demise."

15. Not including women's soccer, what is your favorite sport to watch at UCSB?
"Men's soccer.

16. What are the two best things about waking up in Santa Barbara every day?
"Waking up in my oceanfront home, and waking up with all my roommates/friends in the house.

17. What is your favorite spot on campus?
"The Arbor."

18. What is one thing that people don't know about you...until now?
"I have a half-sister that lives in Sweden, along with her trouble-making nephew and fabulous hubby.

19. If you were on a deserted island and could only have three things with you, what would they be?
"An endless supply of cereal, endless supply of water, endless supply of toiletries."

20. What is your favorite thing about UCSB?
"Kailyn Kugler."

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To see previous Great Examples, please click here.

If you would like to nominate a student-athlete as a Great Example, please call 805.893.8603 or e-mail Lisa Skvarla at lisa.skvarla@athletics.ucsb.edu.

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