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Sunday, March 03, 2024

Seiler’s journey from Bulldogs to Gators prepares her for leadership role

<p>Gabby Seiler (38) celebrates with teammates during Florida's 3-2 win over UCF on Sept. 18 at James G. Pressly Stadium.</p>

Gabby Seiler (38) celebrates with teammates during Florida's 3-2 win over UCF on Sept. 18 at James G. Pressly Stadium.

Redshirt senior Gabby Seiler began her collegiate career as a Georgia Bulldog in 2013. She did not wait long to begin to make her name known in the soccer world.

In the Bulldogs’ fifth game of the season, the they were locked in a scoreless battle with Jacksonville. Seiler, a true freshman at the time, rocketed a shot into the top corner of Jacksonville's net for her first college goal and her first of many game-winners to come.

Though it was her only goal scored on the season, that and her two assists were enough to earn an invitation to the U.S. U-20 training camp in November 2013.

After a stellar sophomore season that saw her record nine goals and as many assists, Seiler transferred to Florida because of her relationship with a now-graduated Gators star.

“I decided to transfer because I had played with Savannah [Jordan] at club,” Seiler told FloridaGators.com in September 2016. “We always had a really good connection on and off the field. At the end of the day, I decided this is what’s best for me. That's kind of just how it worked out.”

Seiler only scored once and saw two assists as a junior in 2016 but was named to the All-SEC First Team as a defender after starting every match for the Gators. After Jordan graduated in December with a degree in sociology, the team had a leadership void.

“I try to be a leader on the field; I try to be a leader off the field,” Seiler said after her team’s 5-0 shutout of Troy on Sunday. “That’s kind of my mentality every time I step on the field.”

Seiler took on her new role just before UF’s Aug. 18 opener against Florida Atlantic. At the Gators’ pre-game meal, she was named team captain. She responded by putting away a penalty kick late into overtime to secure the 1-0 victory against the Owls.

Talk about deja vu.

Seiler’s ability to play anywhere from the back line to attacking midfielder has been the subject of praise from head coach Becky Burleigh.

“She’s one of those players that’s capable of playing pretty much everywhere,” Burleigh said. “I think it just gives our team more versatility when we have somebody like that.”

On Friday, the Gators will try to navigate their toughest test so far this season when they take the field against No. 1 Stanford.

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“I know we rise to any type of competition that we play,” Seiler said. “I know that we are easily as capable to play with them, to beat them. I’m excited.”

You can follow Morgan McMullen at @MorganMcMuffin, or contact him at mmcmullen@alligator.org.

Gabby Seiler (38) celebrates with teammates during Florida's 3-2 win over UCF on Sept. 18 at James G. Pressly Stadium.

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