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The ‘Front Row Joe’ rules of soccer

Junior Shelby Lanksbury prepares to launch the ball in a game last semester. Photo credit: Allisun Coote

Sitting in the front of the classroom is not everyone’s favorite place. Teachers might call on you or notice if you skip class more than they would if you sat closer to the back.

For the Chico State women’s soccer team, head coach Kim Sutton uses the “Front Row Joe” rule when it comes to choosing a seat in class.

“We require the girls to sit in the first two rows of all their classes,” Sutton said.

Junior Emily Shleppey opened up about this rule and did not find it hard to follow when she came to Chico State as a first-year in the fall of 2013.

Junior Emily Shleppey Photo credit: Chico Wildcats

“Sitting in the front of the classroom isn’t hard to do, and I feel it really helps my classroom performance and relationship with my professors,” Shleppey said. “There aren’t days that I decide not to, because after doing it for so long it just feels natural to me.”

For a team that spends a lot of time on the road, building good relationships with the professors is essential. They are more accommodating to students that they know are working hard in the classroom.

“My professors notice me more when I am sitting right in front of them so they are more understanding if we do have to miss a day here and there for traveling,” Shleppey said, “because they know we are good students and are willing to put in the extra work to succeed.”

The whole team abides by the “Front Row Joe” rule and even though the coaches are not in class it builds communication within the team along with a sense of trust between coach and players.

Senior Cassi Scoggins fights for the ball during a game last semester. Photo credit: John Domogma

The high GPA of the whole team is a reflection of the girls’ willingness to follow this simple rule.

Even when friends are in class with her, Shleppey has found herself encouraging them to sit nearer the front. There are many benefits to sitting in the first two rows: you are not as tempted to go on your phone, fall asleep or be distracted by those around, and you stay engaged.

Last fall eight of the team’s players were listed on the CCAA All-Academic Awards winners. That means they held a 3.3 GPA or above. This was the second year for Katie Brown, Lindsey Dias, Shelby Lanksbury, Cassi Scroggins, Emily Shleppey and Jojo Smyth.

The “Front Row Joe” rule creates a high academic for the soccer team and causes them to look for recruits with the same academic abilities.

This upcoming fall the team looks forward to holding onto the coveted belt for highest GPA in the athletic department.

Esther Briggs can be reached at [email protected] or @EstherBriggs191 on Twitter.

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Esther Briggs
Esther Briggs, Staff Writer

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