A day in the life of ... Kevin Ara

Midfielder Kevin Ara is in his first season with D.C. United.

It was a long time coming, but Thursday, I graduated from Harvard.

Wow. The name just speaks for itself. There have been so many great and intelligent people to come out of that university. I felt honored to walk across that stage and receive my degree. To finally have that piece of paper is both an accomplishment and a relief.

When I was a senior in high school, several colleges offered me the opportunity to play soccer. Once I got into Harvard, it was difficult to say no. I couldn't say no.

I'm fortunate to be able to play right now, but I have sacrificed and put in lots of hard work. You never know where a soccer career is going to take you. I've earned a degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the nation, and I'm looking forward to playing soccer for quite some time.

I was drafted in January, but there was never any question in my mind that I would finish my coursework. It was hard work, splitting time between three classes in Cambridge, Mass., and training with D.C. United. But, I put in three and a half years of a lot of hard work and I wasn't going to throw it all away. I'm fortunate to have such a good organization here. Dave Kasper (technical director), Kevin Payne (president and CEO) and the entire coaching staff have all been so supportive. I owe them a lot.

It's great to be able to just focus on soccer now. I'm starting to play a little more and continue to work hard everyday. The weight is off my back now, so I can just play my soccer and see where that takes me. In the end, I'll always have something to fall back on.

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