Icing ankles in the training room isn’t the typical place you’d expect love to spark. But for Rachel Flemming ‘09 and Kyle Schmid ‘08, a chance meeting at UC Irvine led to friendship (both were dating other people at the time). Sharing multiple classes for sociology and social ecology, respectively, as well as the soccer field eventually evolved into romance.

Both avid soccer players, Rachel and Kyle learned lessons on the field they carry with them through their lives together. “Soccer is very similar to life,” says Kyle. “There are ups and downs. It’s a good teacher of life. Adversity on the field helps prepare you for adversity in life.”

Juggling jobs, coaching soccer teams, attending graduate school (Rachel is earning her master’s degree in kinesiology at Cal State Fullerton), and playing on coed soccer teams, they still find time to have fun together and care for their cat, Walter, and dog, Brewster.

On March 31 this year, they’ll get married at UC Irvine’s University Club. After looking at various venues, they selected U Club because it “just felt right. It felt like us.”

1. When did you meet your sweetheart?

We met during preseason (August) of 2005 in the athletic training room.  We were both icing our ankles between double days. He came over and sat by me.

2. What attracted you to each other?

It’s strange because our styles were completely different, so our initial attraction wasn’t about looks or style. Our personalities are so compatible that it was hard to fight. We were always laughing and having a great time. Nothing could keep us apart.

RF: Kyle is the sweetest person in the whole world. He’s always looking for the good in things. He’s so genuine.

KS: Rachel is naturally the caregiver. She always tries to make sure I’m ok. And her personality: I’m very reserved and she’s very outgoing. She’s encouraged me to try new things, to go out and have fun, and try things that I’d probably never have experienced in my life.

3. How long have you been together?

RF: We have officially been together since July 2, 2007, but he has had my heart since the spring trimester of 2006. So that is almost 7 years… Yikes. It’s about time we got married. ;)

4. How has athletics influenced your life together?

RF: I had a positive experience on the women’s soccer team. Everyone in Athletics is really nice. I made good friends there; some are even in the wedding.

KS: I also had a very positive experience in men’s soccer. I still talk to my coach, George. And I gained a lot of friends. I met my best friend Shane there, who’s also in the wedding. I can always look back on it fondly.

RF: We connected through soccer. Everything we do is athletic in some way.

We support each other. When he pursued soccer professionally, I understood. It was really hard, especially when he went overseas. But being an athlete, I could understand. I didn’t want to hold him back from his dreams. I didn’t want him to have any regrets.

KS: Soccer is very similar to life.

Things don’t always go your way. The better team doesn’t always win. There was a time when we were apart, which was rough. But you have to keep in mind what your end goal is and who you’re going on that journey with.

I was always told if you want to get somewhere, just keeping your eye on the prize and winning isn’t the only thing. It’s enjoying the journey together.

When I was younger, because my parents are divorced, I would tell people I had two goals I wanted to achieve in life: play professional soccer and have a family. I’ve achieved the first one, and now I’m on the way to achieving the second one with Rachel.

5. Favorite love song?

RF: “Best Friend” by Queen. It’ll be the song for our first dance at the wedding. It sums us up very well because we’re best friends.

KS: “Good Life” by One Republic.

6. Favorite love story/poem/book/movie?


7. Best Valentine’s Day present?

RF: Kyle and I spent our first Valentine’s Day as “friends,” and we decided to go to Islands. So every year, we go to Islands!

8. What are you planning for Valentine’s Day this year?

This year we will probably continue the Islands tradition, but with our wedding coming up, we are focused on that romantic day the most! It’s our last Valentine’s Day as a non-married couple!

9. What’s the secret to keeping a good love story going?

RF: Be best friends. I enjoy being with Kyle more than anyone else in this whole wide world and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.  He is the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

KS: Make each other laugh every day. And never stop courting the one you’re with. Find a way to flirt, take her out on dates. Don’t be complacent with what you have.

10. How did UC Irvine play a part in your love story?

UC Irvine allowed us to spend a lot time together and really develop our relationship. I think that’s why we enjoy hanging out so much now, because we are used to it.

RF: Also, I’d like to thank UC Irvine. This institution has given me so much more than anyone could ever ask. I started my education at the Early Childhood Education Center; my mom, Cathy Palmer, has worked in the library for over 20 years; the soccer team has given me some of my best friends in the whole world; I got an amazing education; and last, but certainly not least, I met the love of my life at UCI. I couldn’t be more grateful for such an amazing place. And now, I will be getting married on campus, so I will be spending one of the most important days of my life at the school. Thanks for continuing to give, and make lives better, especially mine!

11. Any advice for Anteaters seeking love?

RF: Get out and join clubs or groups that interest you! Finding someone that has common interests means you will most likely get along. Love is a funny thing, It can find you even if you aren’t looking for it.

KS: Don’t count out what’s underneath your nose.

-courtesy of University Communications, http://anteaterlovestories.tumblr.com/post/42927196209/playing-the-field-together-rachel-flemming-and-kyle

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