During her four years on the soccer field at Western Carolina University, Endye Frazier showed the kind of growth coaches love to see. Off the field, her work with the Special Olympics displayed the type of compassion everyone should seek to have.
At WCU, Frazier rose from a player who played in just one game as a freshman to become a senior captain in 2018, leading the Catamounts to an 8-8-2 record.
“Coming in as a freshman, a lot of people aren’t physically prepared,” former teammate Kasey Cooke ’17 said. “Endye was one of those people, as was I, but she has worked hard from her starting point to now to show that she is one of the top people in fitness and wants to play on the field. She’s always going to work and try her best to show everyone else that that’s what you should do to come from the bottom all the way up.”
Last season, Frazier started all 18 games for the Catamounts and ranked second on the team with two goals, both being game-winning goals. Coach Chad Miller called the midfielder “a very hard-working, motivated athlete."
“Endye has grown a lot within our program,” Miller said. “She’s been a significant leader on our team in terms of a vocal leader. She leads by example a lot of times in terms of her practice mentality and how she carries herself in training.”
When she’s not excelling on the field, Frazier devotes a lot of her time working with Special Olympics, which is something she has been around since she was 3-years-old. Her father is involved with North Carolina’s Special Olympics, helping with power lifting. Her mom also taught special education for 18 years.
While at WCU, Frazier contacted the Jackson County Special Olympics program coordinator to see how she could get involved. Her work was featured in the NCAA’s Champion Magazine.
“Just coming here, I kind of stuck with it and wanted to be involved,” Frazier said.
“I think she’s so good with her involvement,” added WCU assistant athletic director for academics Stacey Miller said. “What she’s doing with Special Olympics is her personality. She’s easy-going. She’s easy to talk to. She’s driven. And she loves people. She just loves to buy into people and be there for them and make their every day better, which ultimately is what the Special Olympics is really about.”
The parks and recreation management major fell in love with the WCU campus during her initial visit. Four years later, the experience has been everything she expected.
“My scholarship allowed me to play Division I soccer and to come to a beautiful school that has a student-first mentality, instead of athletics first, which is important to me because grades are very important,” Frazier said. “It just makes me work hard every day because I’m held to a very high standard now. I love it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”