Discovering her passion for soccer from her father's love of the game
Eva Byrum, Class of 2020, and Gray Byrum, Class of 1986, are a father-daughter soccer legacy of Birmingham-Southern College. Gray was on the first soccer team at Birmingham-Southern and recalls being on the team as a time of experiencing what he calls quality suffering. Eva started as a freshman at Birmingham-Southern College this past fall and decided to join the Birmingham-Southern Women’s Soccer team.
While Eva was aware of her dad's past with soccer at BSC, she did not give the legacy much thought until after she decided to play soccer for Birmingham-Southern. “It hit me just how cool it is to be playing at the same school my dad played at,” Eva said. “I like to look at his old team photos sometimes, and he gave me an old jersey from his first year.”
The bond of this sport brought Eva and her father together long before she followed in his footsteps at BSC. “I definitely started soccer because of my dad. My older brother also played when I was born, so I grew up surrounded by soccer,” Eva said. “I started playing when I was three, and I fell in love and never stopped.”
Eva remembers that, despite her dad being busy with work, he always made the time to share his passion for soccer with her in his little free time. “He worked with me in our front yard teaching me the proper way to approach the ball,” Eva said. “His love for the game showed me how easy it is to fall in love with [it].”
That love extended beyond simply teaching Eva how to play soccer; her dad was there to experience all of her games and her own journey of falling in love with the game. “[He] was always the silent parent on the sidelines,” Eva said. “He knows the game so well, and he would just watch. It was great to see him after games and get some knowledgeable advice on how I played.”
Despite her family’s close ties with Birmingham-Southern, including her six year attendance to the summer soccer camp, Eva did not want to attend the college originally. “Practically my whole family went to Birmingham-Southern, so I resented it as a choice early on,” Eva said. “After I got out of my own way I realized it was the right place for me.
Feature photo via the Byrum family