Though landing a spot on the highly competitive cheering squad of a leading NFL team may seem somewhat magical, Amanda Soucy can tell you it takes years of work and practice in more than one discipline. If it's something you love, you start young.
When Soucy was in elementary school she watched her big sister Jillian perform in cheerleading competitions wishing she could be in front of the audience. She began working toward her dream by taking gymnastics and dance lessons. Her first chance to cheer came when she was in the fifth grade at the , where she earned a place cheering for North Reading Youth Football. She continued with that squad through middle school.
As part of the Hornets Varsity Squad in high school she cheered for both the football and the basketball teams. A competitive squad that also did tumbling and dance routines, Soucy performed with the Hornets in regional, state and national competitions. In 2006, when Soucy was a freshman, the varsity Hornets won the state championship and went on to compete in the nationals in Disneyworld where they brought home the national title.
"I was lucky to have had this experience. Being part of a squad and representing your home town was exciting. But winning the nationals showed me how far you can go when you work for it," Soucy recalled.
A junior at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in the fall, Soucy recently won a place on the Patriots' cheering squad.
"Auditioning is a four week process," said Soucy. "There are a series of interviews and performances as well as a swim suit segment." "All the work that goes into this is worth it. I love being in front of a crowd. There is a rush of adrenaline that comes from the crowd's energy," Soucy explained.
Pats cheerleading is about more than being part of the energy on game day. Her role includes volunteering for charitable events such as the Special Olympics and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. These responsibilities dovetail with her membership in Alpha Phi, a philanthropic sorority at UNH. Soucy reports that these charitable endeavors inspire and reward her. Soucy describes her work cheerleading as a "part-time job with a full-time commitment." She also describes her education as important.
Majoring in the hospitality industry, she is working this summer at a hotel in Boston. Coming from a family of strong Pats fans she is looking forward to the experience of home games. That experience includes being on the field at Gillette stadium when the Pats are in training to sign autographs for the public on the posters of the squad in uniform. Shot in Aruba, the Pats' swim suit calendar will be in pro-shops and available from Soucy at the end of August or early September.
All NFL players were locked out until last Tuesday. The union and owners worked together to negotiate an agreement for a new 10-year contract, making the fall football season possible.