Stephanie Yarem Ransom was on the first women’s soccer team at the University of Georgia in the fall of 1995. Now, she’s going into the school’s Circle of Honor along with 10-time NCAA champion gymnastics coach Suzanne Yoculan and All-America football player and assistant coach Steve Greer.
Ransom’s decorated college career included 15 game-winning goals, including a national-best and school-record eight winning goals as a junior in 1997.
The 1995 Gainesville High graduate was a first-team All-America and first-team All-Southeastern Conference performer during her junior season as she totaled 18 goals, still a program record. Ransom was first-team All-SEC again as a senior in 1998, and she picked up second-team all-conference honors in 1996.
By the time she graduated, Ransom had 28 goals and 67 points, both third in school history. Her 15 career game-winners stand as the program record.
Ransom said that even though she built up quite a reputation for scoring decisive goals, it was about much more than her. She credited her teammates for putting her in position to make those plays.
“It was a lot of practice, a lot of timing,” Ransom said. “There’s a little bit of luck there, too.”
Coming in to start the Bulldog program with her teammates was a rare opportunity that she still remembers fondly.
“These girls had opportunities to go to other places, and they came to Georgia,” Ransom said. “You build friendships. You have experiences. It’s unique.”
One game when she was watching from the sidelines, she had a special moment of seeing that growth right in front of her eyes, what she called “laying the foundation of Georgia soccer.”
“I was just so proud and amazed at how far we had come in a short period of time,” Ransom said.
She is now assistant athletic director for business operations at Georgia.
Ransom grew up playing soccer against her three older brothers: Andrew Yarem, David Yarem and Bob Yarem. She was on an all-girls club soccer team her first two years of high school while playing on the boys JV team for the Red Elephants. Gainesville had its first girls soccer team her junior year.
“Playing with my brothers and the boys coming up gave me a different perspective and made me a little tougher,” Ransom said.
Her late father, Bob Yarem, and mother, Alexis Yarem, were also a major part of her development in the game. She points to their influence as part of why she’ll be honored at February’s induction, which she called “a very humbling honor and very exciting.”
“I’ve been fortunate,” Ransom said. “I had great parents who took me where I needed to go, made me stick to things even when it was not so much fun.”
In fact, Alexis Yarem was the one who convinced Ransom to visit Georgia when it wasn’t on the top of her daughter’s list. Once Ransom was on campus, the decision was quick.
“There was something about Athens and Georgia,” Ransom said. “I believe if you can get an athlete on campus, it’s a special place.”