Multi-sport USI athlete travels around the world

Dennis Marshall

Former USI soccer player Julia Kohnen said she will run cross country and track while she gets her Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) this fall.

“It’s something completely new to me. I’m used to team sports involving the use of a ball,” Kohnen said. “But I have enjoyed what I have done so far and am excited for a new challenge.”

During her four years at USI, Kohnen was twice named Academic All-GLVC and, ending her career, eighth all-time at USI in points, goals and assists.

Kohnen said she loved all four years of playing soccer for USI.

“The best part was the team — I loved the girls and being part of a team,” Kohnen said. “They became more than teammates, but good friends. We did everything together.”

In her first meet, the Jerry England Open, Kohnen took first place in the women’s mile with a time of 5:03:33.

Kohnen is now studying abroad at Harlaxton College located near Grantham, England.

Kohnen has traveled to London, Wales, Greece, Germany, Ireland and other towns around England.

She said she has seen everything from Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Parliament in London to the Acropolis, the Temple of Zeus and Olympic Stadium in Athens.

“The trip has been amazing. I’ve already done so much and time is flying by,” she said.

She said she has class Monday through Thursday then travels every Thursday through Sunday.

“I usually plan my own trips with new friends here, but the school offers trips too,” Kohnen said.

She said she climbed the tallest mountain in England (Snowdonia Mountain) and traveled to a nearby town, Nottigham, to watch a professional soccer team.

“The atmosphere at the game was amazing and it was a lot of fun to see a game in England,” she said. “Futbol (soccer) is a much bigger sport here and the fans are so much fun.”

She said she had an eye opening experience when she went to a Dachau concentration camp.

“I got to see a real concentration camp and learn about everything and see what these people experienced under Hitler’s control,” she said. “I can’t even explain how emotional but incredible it was to experience this and I learned so much.”

Germany had other things to offer, as well.

“We got a good experience of German culture through the food and beer.”

She said she will also travel to Portugal, Spain, Amsterdam, Paris and Italy in the upcoming weeks.

Kohnen said the most beneficial parts of this trip, academically, is learning and experiencing a whole new culture, “first-hand.”

Kohnen said as far as athletics, this trip has been challenging.

“I am training for track and cross country, but it is extremely challenging to train on my own while attending school and traveling every weekend,” Kohnen said. “This challenge has helped me grow and learn. But it is very different to have a semester away from everyday practice.”

Kohnen found another way to stay active by joining the college’s basketball team.

“It’s a coed team of four guys and three girls,” she said. “We play once a week and we play all male teams from across England, even traveling to some games.”

Kohnen graduates on May 3 with Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and minors in Marketing and Management, the same day she returns home from her trip.