ASU student athlete hopes to help others achieve health goals

woman playing soccer during a match

Eva van Deursen during a game. Photo courtesy Sun Devil Athletics.


Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2022 graduates.

The chance to continue her soccer career brought Eva Van Deursen to Arizona State University, but it was a conversation with an orthopedic surgeon that helped her decide on a career path once her playing days are done.

Van Deursen is graduating from the College of Health Solutions with a Master of Science in clinical exercise physiology. Her immediate plans will take her to Germany, where she will continue to play soccer, but ultimately she’ll put her education to use helping others achieve their goals.

“My plans would be to work as an exercise physiologist with a professional soccer team and improve the performances of the athletes using data like heart rate and fatigue indexes,” Van Deursen said.

Playing professionally in Europe will be something of a homecoming for Van Deursen; she came to ASU from Veldhoven, Netherlands. 

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I talked to an orthopedic surgeon and he told me that so many diseases can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle and little adjustments to your daily life that can improve the quality of life. I wanted to learn more about this and how I could help people to live their best lives possible without giving them a cocktail of all kinds of medicine, but rather increasing physical activity and creating healthy eating habits. 

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: I learned that being patient in this field is essential to achieve optimal results. You can not assume that the patient has the same knowledge/understanding about their lifestyle as you do as an exercise physiologist.   

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because of the amazing coaching staff in the ASU women's soccer team, and for being able to play (NCAA division I) soccer in the Pac-12 and get my degree was a very easy choice for me. The weather was also a small factor because it is very cold back home!

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Dr. Donna Cataldo taught me very important lessons, lessons inside the field of exercise physiology but also outside of the classroom. She taught me that we can make everything work as long as we are flexible and willing to put in the work together. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: I would say create a good relationship with your professors and make sure your communication with them is always on time and clear. 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

Q: Hayden Library was one of my favorite spots as well as the outside area close to the Memorial Union.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would create a solution for the poor water quality on the planet and barely any water in some places. The goal would be access to clean water for everyone.

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