Trading places

Transfer student-athletes at Seattle Pacific University

Callaghan Bluechel, staff writer

The transfer portal has become the free agency of college sports, and Seattle Pacific University has used this commodity to strengthen teams throughout the athletic department. 

One student who transferred to SPU, Trace Evans, a junior accounting major on the men’s basketball team who had spent his sophomore year at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, had multiple reasons to swap schools and join the Falcons.

Freshman forward Trace Evans (14) passes the ball to a teammate during the SPU mens basketball teams first practice of the year in Royal Brougham Pavilion on Sept. 9, 2022. (Rio Giancarlo)

“I made the switch to SPU because I really felt like I had a connection with the coaching staff here, I felt like the school had a good business program from what I’ve heard and been recommended, I really like the campus, and I like Seattle,” Evans said.

Kade Franco, a junior visual communication major on the men’s cross-country team and a transfer from Orange County College, also connected with the location of SPU. 

“My sister went to school in Gonzaga, and so I always kind of liked the Pacific Northwest,” he explained. “And I just felt like [SPU] was in a good location … I always liked Seattle, I always liked the vibe of it, so I felt like this was a good place for me,” Franco said. 

Many transfers choose SPU because they like the multifaceted approach of the various coaching staffs. One of these students is Emilia Bishop, a redshirt freshman communications major on the women’s basketball team who spent her true freshman year at the University of Northern Colorado. 

“I just really like what the coaches stand for and how they’re really trying to create a community and a culture within the team, and that they really think about the bigger picture of who we are … outside of just our performance on the field,” Bishop said. 

A new campus with new people can be a daunting challenge for many people. However, SPU’s transfer athletes seem to be integrating well into their new teams.

Redshirt Freshman forward Emilia Bishop gathers the ball during a practice earlier this month. (Rio Giancarlo)

“The team has been great,” Bishop said. “All the returners are super welcoming, and you can just tell how much they want to win and compete with each other and that there is really a family dynamic where we really try not to let what happens on the court impact our relationships off the court.”

Franco not only echoed these statements but also added that the time he had before the school year to train with his teammates was extremely helpful.

“It’s honestly been going really well,” Franco said. “The team is great. It was nice that I was able to come here a few weeks early to train with the team. It’s been nice to actually be on campus instead of community college where you go there and go back home.”

Despite the challenges that come with transferring to a new school, SPU’s transfer athletes have meshed well with their teammates early into the school year.

“I feel like we’ve bonded super quick compared to some of the other teams that I’ve been on,” Evans said.

Only time will tell whether this team spirit will carry SPU’s teams to athletic success. In the meantime, Bishop has two words to say: “Go Falcs!”