Rooney: Former Fairview star Gamble transferring to UC-Santa Barbara

Former Fairview standout Berkley Gamble, seen here in action against Monarch last year, will continue her soccer career at UC-Santa Barbara after transferring out of Washington.

Being injured, left behind during her team’s weekend road trips, and mired in a soggy atmosphere far too unlike her home proved too much for Berkley Gamble.

The handling of her injury, which raised Gamble’s eyebrows, didn’t help either.

The former Fairview girls soccer star began the school year as one of the top incoming recruits at the University of Washington. But after suffering her second torn ACL in two years, and then feeling distanced from her new teammates, Gamble returned home at the end of the semester.

However Gamble’s soccer journey took on a new destination this week, as she committed to join the program at UC-Santa Barbara, officially trading the rain for the beach.

“The University of Washington is on the quarter system, so I got there in July and didn’t start school until September,” Gamble said. “The team was gone every weekend and I didn’t travel because I was injured, so I was alone a lot. And I have to say it turned out I hated the rain. After coming from a place with 300 days of sun a year I didn’t think how that would affect me.”

What was more frustrating to Gamble, though, was the handling of her injury. After tearing the ACL in her right knee during her junior year at Fairview, Gamble tore her left ACL during a training session in Washington on Aug. 5.

Gamble made a seamless return from her first torn ACL, anchoring the defense of a Fairview team that reached the Class 5A state title game last year while contributing eight goals, scoring all of them on skillfully executed set pieces. Yet when Gamble went down last August, the reaction she received from her new coaching staff left her disillusioned.

“There was a lot of negative talk about my knee,” Gamble said. “It took me back because I knew how well I came back from my first one. But I guess because I had a second one in less than two years, they thought it was going to be a problem. They wanted me to do a longer rehab for nine months, even though I came back from my first one in five. I love soccer and couldn’t imagine being out that long.”

Gamble has been taking classes at CU while getting her knee back in shape and training with her club team, FC Boulder. She reports she has been playing at 100 percent without a knee brace since March, and while she still has endure a petition to retain her eligibility for this fall, Gamble is confident she will be back on the pitch this fall, given that she never actually suited up for Washington.

“I originally left Colorado for a reason,” Gamble said. “I think it’s important to leave and try new things. I still wanted an adventure. I expect to make an immediate impact with the girls.”

Follow Pat on Twitter: @prooney07