Marlee Heaven soars at the Naval Academy


Navy Soccer

Heaven, #10, goes for the ball during a Navy soccer game.

Colin Vega, Sports Writer

RM alumna Marlee Heaven ‘22 has had a successful start to her collegiate soccer career at the United States Naval Academy. As a freshman, starting in multiple games towards the end of the season, Heaven has already proven she can contribute to the team. As an athlete at a military academy, starring in sports is just a little harder.

The jump from high school to collegiate-level sports may be an adjustment for many student-athletes. “I would say that college soccer is a lot faster and a lot more intense,” Heaven said. “The girls are a lot bigger, a lot more physical [than in high school]. It’s really a different game, you have to prepare a lot to play college soccer.”

At the Naval Academy, however, college life is vastly different from many other universities around the country. In addition to being student-athletes, Heaven and other midshipmen also have to focus on their military duties. The lifestyle change from high school to college can be jarring as the student-athletes schedules become more structured, and have less free time than they were used to in high school. 

“At the Naval Academy, we are considered an active duty, so we are called midshipmen,” Heaven said. “We are taking classes at the same time that we have all of these military obligations, and then at the same time as classes and military obligations we’re also playing sports, so that’s a big challenge.”

While this monumental lifestyle change can take some time to get used to, Heaven has already taken off. Through all of her hard work, she has received her first award in her college career. In the week through Sept. 19, Heaven earned the Rookie of the Week award in the highly competitive  Patriot League. The award followed her first collegiate goal against Bucknell, which helped the Navy secure a 4-0 victory.

  “We came out, played super well, and I just got the job done so that was a really exciting moment both as a plea on the team and seeing us achieve that goal and also to get my first career goal,” Heaven said.

 Navy had suffered a devastating 1-0 defeat in overtime against Bucknell in the Patriots League semi-finals the previous year. The team had done extra scouting reports and moved in extra practices to make sure they would redeem their loss from last year’s playoffs. “We had lost to them last year in the Patriot League semifinals, so this was a really big game so we had to prepare a little bit differently,” Heaven said. “That whole week leading up to the game we did a lot of scouting reports and we did a lot of practices to make sure that we were best prepared to play Bucknell.” 

As high school athletes prepare for the next step towards college, it can seem really challenging to stay on top of everything. Heaven spoke on the struggles of going through the process of applying and working to earn scholarships.  

“If you are trying to get recruited make sure you reach out to coaches early, you know try to get that done soon,” Heaven said. “Make a list for where you want to go, visit colleges because that was all super helpful for me.” 

Heaven was able to earn a spot on the competitive level that most soccer players do not reach, but her success did not come without criticism or struggle. “Make sure you go after what you want because people tell you no. I got told no a lot and I’m actually at the place that I wanted to be, so I would say if you want something, go after it, don’t let people tell you no,” Heaven said.