1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Story on soccer player for college paper

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by irnsdn, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. irnsdn

    irnsdn New Member

    Hi all -

    A while ago I posted a story here that got knocked around (rightfully so) for only having one source. I'd like to think my writing has improved a little since high school, so here's a piece I wrote for my college paper. Feel free to rip it apart with edits, but please give me insight as to why you changed what you did.

    Hed: Moving Forward

    Sub: Senior Suzie Jensen of the women’s soccer team has come a long way since Paraguay

    Without hesitation, Suzie Jensen winds up from about 25 yards out and strikes a shot well wide of the Salem State goalkeeper’s left post. But the center-midfielder doesn’t look upset after missing the ambitious effort. She simply shifts back into her position at the heart of midfield, waiting for the next opportunity to move forward.

    Later in the game, Jensen, a senior captain, sprints after a Salem State winger who has drifted pass midfield with the ball. Jensen quickly steals it, slips around the opposing player and sends a pass ahead to a streaking teammate.

    Once again, Jensen and the Colonels threaten the Salem State goalkeeper. Once again, Salem State’s backline barks at one another, frustrated as Jensen’s ability to keep pushing forward.

    “She’s an attacker, she loves to go forward with the ball and has a great shot,” says Curry women’s soccer coach Danielle Ferrara Toomey. “She’s very offensive-minded.”

    Jensen is the lone captain this year, elected to the spot by her teammates. Ferrara Toomey says the senior leads by example through dedication and hard work on the pitch, but Jensen brings other intangibles to the Colonels squad, according to teammates.

    “She’s a positive leader and is never negative,” says sophomore goalie Hayley Lorge. “She’s approachable off the field, too.”

    Although Jensen grew up in both Arlington and Framingham, Mass., and attended middle and high school at the Rivers School in Weston, Mass., she was actually born in Ypacaraí, Paraguay.

    In 1990, Judy Burke was single and wanting to be a mother. She arranged to adopt a baby from Paraguay, and on June 25 of that year traveled to the South American country to pick up her new child. It was supposed to be easy, a seven-day process. However, bringing Suzie home would take about five months longer.
    Burke says her first attorney only helped her secure custody of Suzie, then 10 months old.

    “I never saw that man again,” she says. The attorney ended up running for political office, and Burke’s new attorneys advised her to take Suzie and go into hiding in Paraguay for precautionary reasons. “My new attorneys were afraid that [my first attorney] would tell the Paraguayan police I stole the baby,” says Burke.

    After five months, and with all legal hurdles finally cleared, Burke returned to the United States on Thanksgiving Day 1990 with her official daughter. Approximately one year later, Burke married Bud Jensen, who legally adopted Suzie soon thereafter.

    “I really don’t know why my birth mom gave me up,” Jensen later says. “I think about it more around my birthday, or when I meet other people who were adopted. I’m not dwelling on it, though. Obviously, she wanted me to have a better life.”

    Jensen, a criminal justice major, says she’s actively thinking about her future, even though her present

    Suzie Jensen says she doesn’t have many memories of her childhood in Paraguay, but that her native country still holds a special place in her heart. “I’ve been back to Paraguay twice, once for visiting purposes, and then once for volunteering,” she says. “I’m very close with a lot of Paraguayans, even from different states. We still keep in contact.

    The women’s soccer team got off to a rough start this season, but senior Suzie Jensen has continued to shine for the Colonels. Through 12 games, Jensen has 4 goals and 3 assists.
    revolves around the women’s soccer team. The Colonels have struggled this season with a 2-10 record through Oct. 9, and a 0-5 mark in The Commonwealth Coast Conference. Jensen has scored 4 goals and 3 assists this season.

    She says watching TV shows such as “CSI” and “Law and Order” helped inspire her to major in criminal justice. Plus, Jensen says, she has the right traits to work in the field, looking for new challenges. “I have the personality to work with troubled people,” says Jensen. “Each day is different in a criminal justice job.”

    And it usually involves moving forward.
  2. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Pretty good story, but it is a little disorganized. You need to have her school much higher in the story, as well as her stats. Also, it would be nice if she actually did something interesting in the game action you describe. Otherwise, just needs some minor edits. Don't recall your previous story, so can't speak on your improvement, but this one is pretty good for a college paper.
  3. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    You're using too many unnecessary clauses. Let's take the first graf:

    Here's what I would suggest: "Suzie Jensen winds up and strikes a 25-yard shot wide of the left post. The center midfielder is unfazed as she shifts back into position, waiting for the next opportunity to move forward."

    Your story is fewer than 700 words, yet your lede into your nut graf is 150 words. That's acceptable when you're writing 1,500 words, but you need to get to the point quicker in a shorter story. I had a similar tendency while in college. College papers afford great space for features like this, but employers want a writer who can get to the point and tell a story efficiently. Cut phrases such as "once again" and ask about the purpose of every sentence. Your player looks for opportunity to move forward, and your story should, too.

    Moreover, I think the most interesting part of the story was about the adoption. Good advice for any type of story: Ask yourself what makes the story interesting, then focus on that. The fact that she is unabashed in her shot-taking on the field isn't as interesting as the fact that it took her mother five months to adopt her from Paraguay because her mother went through a shady lawyer. That's not to say the soccer metaphor of moving forward can't work, just that the Paraguay nugget would help bring in readers earlier in the story.

    In a one-on-one editing session, I'd ask you to refocus the story a bit. But I'm not your editor and we're certainly not in a one-on-one editing session. So here's an idea of how I might have opened the story:

    My way's not perfect. You know the material much better than I do, and I'm not saying you were wrong to approach the story the way you did. But my advice is to do what you can to keep readers interested, particularly when you're covering a bad women's soccer team.
  4. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    I am not a writer but as a reader your story gave me whip lash with all its abrupt stops and turns. There is something just not right with the flow. Also seems like you should put a few of the action verbs that you used back in the bottle.
  5. irnsdn

    irnsdn New Member

    Thanks guys. I'll make mental notes: 1. Flow 2. What's the most interesting part? 3. Too much in lede. 4. Cut short phrases.

    I really do appreciate the help and feedback.
  6. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Also - spaceman would want to know if you would hit it.
  7. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    I agree with Versatile on the adoption angle being the focal point, and that goes to Boom's point. It almost read like it was two different stories.
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Out of curiosity, I went back and looked at the previous articles you've posted here. You've improved a lot. It also appears you're still a year or two away from graduating college. Keep at it, tighten your writing and continue seeking and following advice.
  9. irnsdn

    irnsdn New Member

    Thanks for the help everyone. I will definitely keep editing my own work, working with editors and posting articles on here, Versatile. I appreciate everyone's help.

    I'm entering second semester, sophomore year. It's a good amount of time to improve and have more clips.
  10. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    That's pretty good stuff for a sophomore. Keep working on it.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page