The University of Indianapolis women’s soccer team added Rory Halbert to its roster on Friday, Feb. 6, as a part of TeamIMPACT. Halbert signed her letter of intent at a press conference held at the Ruth Lilly Center that afternoon and will be wearing the number nine next season. The newest Greyhound is a local nine-year-old from Indianapolis and is the third to join UIndy through TeamIMPACT. She joins Braden Tamosaitis, who is a part of the men’s soccer team, and Owen Mahan, who is currently a member of the baseball team.
TeamIMPACT is an organization based in Massachusetts, and its purpose is to place children between the ages of 5 and 15 with local collegiate athletic teams. According to the organization’s website, www.goteamimpact.org, its goal is to “improve the quality of life for children who are facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses.” Currently there are 575 children at 293 schools in 42 different states across the country.
During the press conference, Halbert was joined by members of the UIndy Athletics Administration and her new teammates. Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sue Willey and junior midfielder Jessica Bentley shared a few words before Halbert made her commitment official with a signature.
According to Willey, Halbert was an only child until she joined UIndy, and now she has a whole team of sisters. Willey said that she is counting on Halbert to keep the girls in line.
Following Willey’s speech, Bentley welcomed Halbert to the team.
“There is no one we would rather have rep that No. 9 jersey than you [Rory], and we know you will wear it proud,” she said.
After Bentley said a few words, she and Halbert closed out her welcoming speech with a song from the team’s favorite movie, “The Lego Movie.”
After Halbert signed her letter of intent, the floor was opened for questions from her new teammates and others present at the press conference. The questions for the newly signed Greyhound ranged from “what are you most excited about” to “what is your favorite Pop-Tart?”
Halbert replied that she has yet to have her first Pop-Tart, but Bentley said the team would let her have her first one soon. Halbert also said that she believes it will taste like applesauce on really hard bread.
Halbert said she is looking forward to hanging out with the team and doing fun stuff in the future.
Her parents, Jeff and Alicia Halbert, said this opportunity provides a chance for their only child to experience the camaraderie of a team.
“It has been an amazing experience so far. Our first trip here to campus was instant acceptance for Rory. She was instantly comfortable, and it has just been amazing,” Alicia said. “We are just looking forward to more of that, and for Rory to feel like she is part of something and that she belongs here. I don’t have any doubt that that’s what this is going to be like for her.”
Halbert said that she plans to be present for as many team activities as she can throughout the upcoming season. Her first activity as an official member of the team was attending the men’s and women’s basketball games in Nicoson Hall on Feb. 8, when they took on the Maryville University Saints.
Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator for Student Support and Sports Information Jackie Paquette said that she believes Halbert, with her enthusiasm and humor, will serve as a great addition this upcoming season to the women’s soccer team and the UIndy Athletics family.