There was no girls soccer team at Kalida in 1996 and ’97.
So Cristin Czubik played on the Kalida boys soccer team.
And did she play.
Often guys on the other team would send a flying elbow her way or give her a hard push from the back. The idea was to intimidate Czubik.
Think again. All that did was get her flying like a lit firecracker.
Czubik would simply spring back off the ground and respond with a perfect pass the next time she had the ball.
And don’t think she wouldn’t push back.
“Part of me kind of welcomed that,” Czubik said. “They weren’t going to stop me. If it was their game to get me out of my game, it wasn’t working. I loved the physical game. I thought I got away with a lot more than the boys did. Sometimes it just made me laugh.
“But those things made me a better player. When I got older and played with girls, my physical game became one of my best assets.”
Czubik (Belmont class of 2002) will be welcomed into the Belmont University (Nashville, Tenn.) Hall of Fame. She’ll be honored Feb. 8 at a luncheon and halftime ceremony at a Belmont basketball game.
“One of the Belmont administrators emailed me about being named to the Hall of Fame,” Czubik said. “It came out of the blue. It was very surprising, and I never even thought about it. It was a very humbling surprise.”
Czubik grew up around soccer in Kalida, as her two brothers, Wes and Craig, both played for Kalida. Her father, Mark, is the longtime boys soccer coach at Kalida.
“We had a perfect backyard for it,” she said. “We had two trees on one side of the yard and two trees on the other side (to use as goals). I loved being challenged by the older boys, and it was fun to beat them. I always wanted to be the best and be as good as they were.”
When Czubik was playing for her dad at Kalida, she used her ball skills and soccer knowledge to fit right in on the boys team. She started her junior and senior years as a midfielder. She still holds the Kalida record for most assists in a season with 17.
“It didn’t faze me since I grew up playing with the boys,” Czubik said. “It made me the player I am. I loved it. I think it was a matter of being faster with my head. I couldn’t be faster with my feet. I could think, too, and tried to be three steps ahead.
“I also learned not to get rattled. I always wanted to prove something. I don’t think they (her teammates) ever thought of me as a girl on the team. I gained their respect and that helped my confidence.”
Czubik went on to play at Division I Belmont. She joined the team when it was in its second year of existence.
“We had success, relative to having a new program,” Czubik said. “We beat Mississippi State while I was there. There were games when we surprised some people.”
Czubik, a center midfielder, was captain her senior year. She led the team in assists from 1998 to 2001. She still holds Belmont records for assists in a career (31), points in a career (75) and shots in a career (160). She stands second in career goals with 22.
She was named all-league in both the Missouri Valley Conference and the Atlantic Sun Conference. She helped the team post a 15-3 record her freshman year.
After graduating, Czubik held various coaching positions, including being the assistant women’s soccer coach at Vanderbilt University from 2005 to 2010.
She’s currently the director of player development and coach for SKY soccer club in Bowling Green, Ky.
Czubik (Allen) is married to Blake Allen, who is an assistant baseball coach at Western Kentucky University. The couple is expecting its second child in close to a month.
“Being an assistant coach at the college level, there was a lot more recruiting,” she said. “Now I can do a lot more with kids. Throughout the year, I work with 150 kids from ages 7 to 18. I like being more hands on and seeing kids progress. It’s also a better fit with my family.”
Czubik has come a long way since battling boys on the fields of northwest Ohio. Now she’s hoping she can impart some of what she learned from all her coaches, including her father.
“There’s so much more than the wins and losses now,” she said. “It’s about learning valuable life lessons. I don’t get too high or too low. Those are a few of the intangible traits I learned from him (her dad, Mark). You’re not going to remember what your record was every year, but you’ll remember how that coach made you feel about yourself.”