Erin Hardiman: A class of her own

Kate McAvey

With a school record for single-season assists in her possession, a healthy lead in the Big East assist leaders column and an impressive No. 5 national ranking with 14 assists, surprised is the last thing Erin Hardiman should have felt as they announced her name as the Big East Midfielder of the Year.

“I didn’t even know the award existed,” Hardiman says after returning from the annual postseason awards and All-Conference selections banquet in South Bend, Ind., where the league announced her as the Midfielder of the Year.

The reason Hardiman had probably never heard of the award is most likely because she is the first Villanova player to ever receive this honor. After being asked how it felt to know that she is the only Wildcat to ever be honored by such a prestigious award, she is more than humble, talking more about the team than herself.

“I think it’s a great honor to be awarded,” she says. “It speaks about our program – how we’re moving forward – and we have a lot of talent coming from this program.”

Although Hardiman was the only Villanova player to earn a spot on the All-Big East First Team, she wasn’t the only Wildcat to be awarded Big East honors. Junior defender Kelly Eagen was chosen for the Big East Second Team.

Hardiman helped out with 18 of the 39 goals scored for the Wildcats, and five of her record-breaking 14 assists occurred in game-tying or game-winning goal situations. Hardiman was also the fastest player in school history to reach the 10-assist mark, and she tallied three games where she had at least one goal and one assist. For the season, Hardiman had a total of 22 points and four goals in her final season as a Wildcat.

Her list of achievements is a testament to the hard work Hardiman has put into the sport. She says that the long list of positive experiences outweigh any strain or difficulty accompanying her efforts and makes it clear that her team is a close one with lots of opportunities to enjoy the sport of soccer.

“It’s a fun atmosphere to play in,” Hardiman says. “It’s very free. Our coach tries to make it so you can be creative. You have fun going out there and doing what you love.”

Hardiman’s love of soccer started when she was 5 years old with her dad coaching her first soccer team. Her love for the sport grew as she watched a close family friend play professional soccer throughout her childhood.

With soccer season over, Hardiman says she doesn’t know what to do with all her free time. She is going to miss the players, the traveling and the family that she became a part of over the last four years.

With senior year inching toward a close, Hardiman has started to think about post-graduation plans. At the moment, she is keeping her options open, but playing soccer professionally is definitely a possibility.