IMG Academy transfer finding her way around Marquette

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Shelby Fountain dribbles the ball in Marquette’s 5-0 exhibition win against University of Regina Aug. 2019. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

There are few athletes at the high school level who compete among the top competition in the country. For one of the young forwards on the women’s soccer team, her journey brought her to Marquette from a top-tier boarding school.

Shelby Fountain, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, transferred her senior year of high school to IMG Academy. IMG Academy is the most advanced multi-sport training and educational institution in the world.

The school creates a unique atmosphere to help students train on campus during their time there.

Fountain said that she needed something new, hence the move to the renowned academy.

“So basically what happened was my dad signed me up to go to camp there the summer before … Of course, it’s the world-renowned school for sports, so I was really nervous,” Fountain said. “I stayed there for three weeks for camp and while I was there, the coaches noticed me and offered me to come play on their team.”

George Sasvari, who was Fountain’s coach at IMG, spoke about how he came across her and what went into their decision-making process.

“In Shelby’s case, she was a rising senior who had no scholarship offers and maybe a list of twenty schools she was exploring. She wasn’t really sure where she was in her college search,” Sasvari said. “She had never played development academy level before and we saw her as a potential player on our under-19 girl’s development academy team … And by August 21, virtually three weeks later, she was playing in our academy,”

Fountain then made her decision to come to Marquette after her time at IMG.

“I chose Marquette for a lot of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to be far from home, and I also wanted to be in a different environment than I had previously been in in Florida,” Fountain said. “I knew that when I visited that I loved everyone on the team. Immediately, I knew that there was a family atmosphere and a whole acceptance.”

Fountain’s teammate had high praise for her both on and off the field.

“She’s super funny and I think, in practice settings, she definitely tries to push herself while still trying to have fun and keep it light. On the field, she’s extremely fast, which is nice because we can kick her a ball and she’ll get there,” junior forward/midfielder Macey Shock said.

Her coach also mentioned the speed that Fountain displayed during her time at IMG.

“It’s no question that her speed is a factor. It’s deceptive speed at that, because she’s very explosive in zero to five yards as well so she has the ability to dispossess opposing defenders,” Sasvari said. “I think that combined with her ability to score, her speed and add in the defensive element, she becomes a real viable Division I level player.”

Fountain mentioned her speed as one of her key qualities on the pitch, but also talked about areas she wants to improve at Marquette.

“I’m definitely trying to improve my communication skills with the team, you know? Telling them things I’m good at, how I want balls played to me. Definitely need to work on that. I was trying to work on that in the spring, but we’ll get to that at some point,” Fountain said.

Fountain also talked about some of her goals for the upcoming years.

“I would really like to start in a couple games. I also want to score a lot of goals, but at Marquette in general, I definitely want to get more involved with some other clubs and organizations outside of athletics. I think I’m really focused on athletics and it’ll be a good thing for me to venture outside of that,” Fountain said.

Fountain mentioned one organization in particular: the Black Student Council. She said that she had felt like an outsider as the only person of color on her team, so it felt good to start getting involved with a club that understood that aspect of her life.

Fountain also addressed the Black Lives Matter protest on Sept 4., in which the Marquette women’s soccer team participated alongside a large number of other athletes, students and other individuals.

“I definitely voice my opinion to my team a lot about things that are going on and things that are bothering me in the world today,” Fountain said. “They definitely know, and are supportive of me with how I feel about situations, and they’re definitely standing right there with me.”

This story was written by Bryan Geenen. He can be reached at bryan.geenen@marquette.edu.