The Washington Spirit announced this week that forward Averie Collins tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a voluntary training session in late January. Explaining the injury, Collins told BGN, “I tore it in a 2v2 small sided game. I went to block a shot and jumped weird onto my left leg, before I knew it ‘pop!’ I was on the ground.”
The injury will keep her out of commission for an extended period of time and that’s not something that Collins is used to. “This is my first major injury and as tough as it has been, I feel really lucky to have so many people behind me and supporting me through this process,” she said. “I choose to believe everything happens for a reason and I trust that as challenging as the next 9-12 months will be, I will come out better for it in the end.”
Outside of rehabbing her knee to get back as healthy and as soon as possible, Collins will have some extended time off on her hands. But, she has a couple of things in mind to keep her busy. Collins said, “A few things on my to-do list are drawing and starting a clothing line with my roommate. Both are things I’ve always wanted to do, but never really found the time for.”
She’s also working towards a major accomplishment this spring. “I am actually still in the process of getting my MBA, I graduate this coming June,” she said. “For me pursuing my MBA has been a great opportunity to explore my interests outside of soccer and think about what I might want to do when this chapter closes.”
Collins kicked off her professional career in 2020 with five appearances across the NWSL Challenge Cup and Fall Series, including one start. A second round pick last year for the Spirit, Collins was able to re-connect with two fellow members of “The Mob”, a group of former Stanford teammates that includes Collins, Spirit teammates Jordan DiBiasi and Tegan McGrady, PSG defender Alana Cook, and Michelle Xiao.
Averie actually isn’t the first member of her family to play a professional sport in the Washington D.C. area. Her father, Shane Collins, was drafted by the Washington Football Team (under their previous name) in the second round of the 1992 NFL Draft and played there until 1994. “Playing in the same city as my dad definitely feels full circle,” Averie said. “When my mom came out for my surgery she drove me by their old house and it’s about 10 minutes from where I live now. It’s really cool to experience this place firsthand after hearing stories about it growing up.”
Not only is Averie a second generation professional athlete, but she’s also the first native of Montana to play in the NWSL. “I think developing the game in Montana means providing more exposure and opportunity for young athletes,” she explained about how her home state can improve the women’s soccer pipeline. “Currently soccer loses out to a lot of other sports in Montana being they are more established. It begins with establishing year round playing opportunities and supporting infrastructure and personnel to enable kids to chase the dream of playing soccer at the next level.”
Is there a fun fact or something the unfamiliar of us should know about The Treasure State? Collins answered, “A fun fact about Montana I like is it is (unbiasedly) the best state in America!”
While we won’t see the Montana native on the pitch to start the season, there’s no doubt that she will be working hard to get back soon, better than ever.