Cornell Women’s Soccer Spotlight: Dempsey Banks ’17

Updated: September 24, 2014

IRENE KUO- As the soccer season is winding down and approaching its final couple of games for both Cornell Women’s and Men’s soccer teams, I got a chance to sit down and chat with women’s soccer player, Dempsey Banks – a freshman midfielder/forward who has made a significant impact on the pitch.

Irene Kuo: When was the first time you ever played soccer?

Dempsey Banks: I was 5 years old. My best friend played on the boys’ team and she would always invite me to come out to play with them. So I started playing with the boys’ team. In the beginning, I focused a lot on foot skills and juggling.

IK: Have you ever had moments when you didn’t feel like playing soccer?

DB: My best friend and I always pushed each other so that helped. She continued to play on the boys’ team but I switched over to girls. At first, the team that I was on wasn’t great so I struggled. Then I switched over to the Leahi Soccer Club and that helped. The competition in Hawaii isn’t that great so it was definitely a struggle to keep up with other teams across the nation. However, we had a good team (Leahi 95 Premier) and during my last year with them we won [USYS Far West] Regionals, made it to Nationals and are now ranked 3rd in the nation.

IK: That is amazing! So considering all of that, what do you think is the highlight of your career so far?

DB: Making it to Ivy League and Division I play out of Hawaii. It is a big accomplishment for me since not many kids go that far. Soccer really helped in getting in [to Cornell]. Ivy League universities were always a dream for me and soccer got me here. It made my life. I don’t think I’m good enough to play professional after college so I know that a good education will be good in the long run. Also, graduating with a degree from an Ivy League school will make my parents proud.

IK: Speaking of Cornell, how has the transition been from Hawaii to Cornell? Weather-wise and everything else?

DB: Well I haven’t experienced much of the weather change yet. So far the weather has been alright, I like the chill that we have now.

IK: I’ve heard it’s going to be a pretty bad winter this year!

DB: I know! I’ve heard that too. I’m not sure what to expect for that. As for everything else, it was tough adjusting at first. I missed my family in the beginning but with the team and training in the fall, there is just no time to think about home anymore since it’s always soccer and school. It also helped that my family visited [Cornell] and they watched me play a couple of games, I think they were here for the game against Albany.

IK: Now that you’ve been at here for a bit, what’s your favorite thing about Cornell?

DB: The people. I love how diverse it is! There are a lot of foreign students and a lot of my friends are from foreign countries. Though I have to say the athletic program and soccer are the best!

IK: Back on the topic of soccer, what are 3 things that you have to bring on away games?

DB: Chargers for everything. When we’re on the bus, I always make sure that I sit next to an outlet because I just plug everything in – my laptop, my phone. They always die so fast! Also, snacks (Hi-Chew). I can’t think of anything else, so Cornell soccer gear.

IK: You’ve started every game, how does that feel?

DB: It’s nice to be able to contribute as a freshman. I still feel like I have a lot to work on. I’ve played well in some games and I’ve also had some bad games. I need to find my zone and be more consistent. I’ve been lucky that Coach [Farmer] gives me the opportunity to start. I want to work hard to change the program around and win an Ivy League Championship within my 4 years here! We saw a change at the beginning of the season but we can’t relax, we need to continue moving forward. I also have to keep in mind that the starting lineup is not set. We will have a lot of good freshmen coming in next year and the players who haven’t started this year are also working hard. Everyone works hard and everyone wants to start. I wish more people can start since everyone puts in so much effort but I’m also glad that Coach Farmer trusts me enough to start me and let me help set the tempo at the start of the game.

IK: Do you have anything you’d like to say to fans, friends, and family?

DB: Thanks to all the fans and friends who come out to watch us play. It really helps to have the support. The cheering squad helps push us through the 90 minutes. Come to the Berman Blackout game! Especially since it’s going to be senior day!

Any spectator at a Cornell women’s soccer game cannot help but notice Dempsey Banks’ presence on the field (and not just because she always has Kinesio tape on). The burst of speed and fancy footwork this freshman brings to the pitch is breathtaking to watch and leaves a lasting impression in one’s mind. I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of Banks on the field in the coming years and any Cornell student would not want to miss the time when this freshman finds her “zone” and is able to play at the level she is striving for. And don’t forget, as Banks continues to improve her game, the rest of the team will also be climbing up along with her, so make sure you don’t miss out on watching the awakening of our own Cornell women’s soccer team. Lastly, don’t forget to do as Banks says and “Come out to the Berman Blackout game!”

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