Vivian Willis '26 reaches personal and team-based milestones through her success on the Mount's Women's soccer team and their family-focused culture.

Vivian Willis MIlestone

Vivian Willis '26 is a nursing major at the Mount, continuing her education while being a member of the women's soccer team. Through her MSJ journey, she has reached many milestones with her team and as an individual player, and has made lasting memories on and off the field.

For the Love of the Game

From a very young age, Vivian has loved playing soccer. She recalls a memory from her early years playing, when she was six years old and realized her sport could be a bigger part of her life:

"When I was 6 years old, I was leaving my indoor soccer game with my parents. There was a lady that approached my parents and told them that she believed I needed to be playing at the next level, and that my parents should think about signing me up for select/club soccer. At this moment, I realized something that I loved doing so much could turn into so much more, which only made me gain even more love for the sport itself.”

Since then, Vivian has worked hard to pursue her passion, which led her to the Mount. "When I received the call that [the Mount's soccer team] wanted me to come and join the team, I was overwhelmed with happiness," she remembers. Adding in the fact that the Mount's nursing program aligned with her career goals, Vivian had found her perfect match to continue her education and athletic career.

Hard Work Pays Off in Conference Tournament

Coming into college during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vivian and her team had to deal with various precautions when going into practices and games. Despite these difficulties, Vivian fondly remembers being able to play in her first MSJ soccer game.

"Playing in my first college game felt like a dream," she recalls. "We had went down to play Centre College and I learned when we got there that I would be in the starting 11 players which was majority juniors and seniors." Seeing a unique opportunity for a freshman player, she knew she was getting a special chance to perform.

Although she was nervous at first, Vivian quickly fell into rhythm, recalling that as soon as the ball was kicked off, playing soccer here felt natural and just like any other game she had played.

While at the Mount, Vivian has seen the results of her hard work both in her team's success and through individual recognition. Her freshman year, the women's soccer team went undefeated in their conference during season and won their conference tournament.

"One of my favorite memories is winning conference my freshman year," Vivian says. "We went up to Hanover to play the conference championship and beat them on their home field. As a freshman I was just grateful for my first year of playing college soccer, but on top of that we received our conference trophy, and we got rings!"

The team has seen continued success on and off the field since Vivian’s freshman year. In their 2023 season this past fall, the Lions went 8-1 in their conference and landed 6 players, including Vivian, on All-HCAC lists. 

Vivian has also been commended for her hard work through individual awards and recognitions. For three years in a row, she has received All Ohio, All Region, and First Team All-Conference. This year as a junior, Vivian was also named Defensive Player of the Year '23.

"Being recognized for my hard work is always a blessing!" Vivian says. "I am constantly supported by my coaches, family and teammates, and I love to celebrate the achievements with them!"

A Culture of Family

Regardless of success on the field, Vivian points to the family atmosphere of the team as her favorite part of Mount soccer. Outside of practices, she reflects, "you will never just see one Mount women's soccer player alone." Hanging out between classes, walking around the quad, and supporting each other's success on and off the field is part of the MSJ soccer philosophy.

"It truly feels like I have 34 sisters. When we are out as a team we always get recognized for how close and connected we are compared to other teams [outside of the Mount]. I just truly admire our team culture!"

This philosophy also extends to the support Vivian has experienced from her coaches, who sacrifice so much time out of their days to push the players to be "better players and people as a whole." This means encouraging and recognizing success on the field, but also in the classroom.

"The coaching staff want nothing but the best for their players," says Vivian. "Even though they are our coaches, they encourage us to succeed in the classroom!"

Student Athlete and Beyond                  

As many college athletes know, playing your sport while being a full-time student can mean facing numerous challenges. When asked what being a student athlete means to her, Vivian explains that she sees it as an opportunity.

"It is an opportunity to showcase your skills on and off the field," she says, a chance many people are not given at this level. "The advice that I would give to other students balancing athletics, school and life is to keep pushing through! It is important to take every opportunity that is given and perform at your best potential as not everyone in life gets the same opportunities that you have. It is critical to work hard now so that in the future we will have less worries, and will look back at the opportunity and memories that we made!"

Vivian plans to graduate from the Mount's nursing program and pass her NCLEX (The National Council Licensure Examination) to start her career in the pediatric field of nursing. She also hopes to stay involved in soccer after graduation, either through continuing to play herself or becoming a coach.


Interested in Nursing?

The direct admission Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is designed to prepare students as professional nurses who integrate the liberal arts and sciences with the knowledge and skills that are essential for patient-centered nursing practice.

The outstanding reputation of the direct admission Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at the Mount is built upon 100 years of experience. Graduates are caring, ethical, healthcare providers who support the dignity of others and promote holistic, evidence-based practice to improve patient outcomes.

Visit our Nursing Program Page here to learn more!

Interested in Sports at the Mount?

Each year around 300 freshmen join Mount St. Joseph University community for our strong liberal arts, science, and professional curriculum. Among those 300, a large portion of those freshman are a part of one or more of our 21 NCAA Division III athletics team. If you have the Heart of a Lion, and would like to become a part of one of our teams we are here to help you through the application and enrollment process.

Visit the Mount Athletics Website here to learn more!