Jacksonville native Sofia Chepenik was lightly recruited out of high school before signing with the Clemson Tigers to play on the school’s first women’s lacrosse team. After a 33-goal, 20-assist freshman season, Chepenik made the ACC All-Freshman team and signed a lifetime NIL deal.
Chepenik “became the first female college athlete to sign a lifetime NIL deal — believed to be the longest and largest for any female lacrosse player.” With the help of her agent, Christian Addison of Addison Sports & Entertainment, and Athletiverse, an NIL platform, the Clemson star signed a deal with LootMogul to be the face of Web3’s online lacrosse game.
Despite her success both on and off the field, Chepenik decided to transfer closer to home and become part of the inaugural South Florida Bulls women’s lacrosse team.
The new team, coached by Mindy McCord, who started the program at Jacksonville State, will start play in 2025. In the year in between, the team will practice and scrimmage to get ready for the following campaign.
While USF doesn’t have the NIL program Clemson does, Chepenik is looking forward to the new challenges, both on and off the field.
“The USF journey, I get a year to build my brand and get better and be a leader on the team and start to leave a legacy,” Chepenik said. “It definitely would have been different if I went to an already established program. I just think it’s going to be a different journey. I think I’m going to maximize it. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m going to take the opportunities that are given and take the time to create these relationships in Tampa.”