UNCC Star Mary Manser Juggles Community, Classwork, Soccer

RUSTY WILLIAMS
Charlotte 49ers soccer star Mary Manser, with teammates Kelley Suggs, Megan Greene, and Sophie Sipprell, clean up trash around UNC Charlotte’s campus.

Be where your feet are. It’s the expression Char­lotte 49ers soccer star Mary Manser lives by during her jam-packed days. “If I’m in practice, I give 100 percent,” she says. “If I’m in class, I give 100 percent. If it’s community service, I give everything I can.”

At 21, the UNC Charlotte senior is serious about her role as a student-athlete but doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s warm and gracious, especially when she talks about her teammates. “I still play with some of the same girls I played with in first grade,” says the Mooresville native. “College has been so amazing, because of the girls I’ve met on the team. They’ll be in my life for a long time.”

Manser completed her junior year with a 3.948 cumulative GPA, and she’s on track to graduate with a degree in systems engineering next spring. “I’m usually one of the only females in my classes,” she says. “But I’m used to it. I’ve been around men my whole life.” She grew up with three older brothers, and she’s the youngest by six years. “We’re all competitive,” she says with a smile, “so everything’s a competition at home.” 

At UNCC, she’s won the Conference USA Academic Medal twice, and has had three semesters with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Last fall, the conference bestowed its Spirit of Service Award for community service to Manser for the second year in a row. As of press time, she’d totaled more than 115 hours of community service with organizations like the SAAC Cares Holiday Drive, Be the Match 5K, and the Spectrum Housing Initiative. “My dad works 50 hours a week and still makes time for things like that,” she says. “I think everyone could take an hour out of one week to give back.” 

Manser hopes to work for a company with a community service initiative, and she’s open to any opportunities in the engineering field. “I’m not as flexible with location, though,” she says. “Family is important to me, so I want to stay close to Charlotte.” She hopes to continue to play soccer, too, “in some fun leagues, or summer leagues, but nothing too competitive,” she says. “I think after my next season, I’ll be ready to relax and just play for fun.” 

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