Haley Schmich is an Eastport native and Eastport-South Manor 2017 alumna. Schmich attended Adelphi for undergrad then Hofstra to receive her master’s.
She was a member of the dance team for two seasons for the professional lacrosse team at the Nassau Coliseum, the New York Riptide, and currently is in her first season in Foxborough as a cheerleader for the six-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
Tide: How did you get into cheerleading?
Schmich: I danced competitively my whole life growing up. When I was in college, I did participate on the Adelphi Dance Team for a short period of time, and that was sort of my first introduction to pom-style dancing, which is a lot of what is done on the Patriots Cheer Team and the cheer team is a lot of dancers. I will say, there is a lot of routines that we learn and that’s kind of where I got involved with it. I danced competitively throughout high school as well. I danced in West Islip. My mom owns the dance studio Divine Rhythms in West Islip. I wasn’t on the cheer team in high school. I had to pick at a pretty young age to get into either competitive dance or cheer. and I went the dance route.
Tide: When in your life would you say that you thought it might be possible to make a career out of it?
Schmich: That’s a good question. I don’t know if I was ever 100 percent sure that it would be possible. When I graduated from Adelphi in 2021, I knew that I wanted to pursue dance in some sort of professional field. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cheer for a professional organization or if I wanted to dance in a company, but when I graduated I knew that it was sort of time to start auditioning, and that’s what led me to dancing for the Riptide for two years, sort of on a smaller scale, as I got my master’s degree at Hofstra. It was really just a leap of faith, honestly; I just sort of thought if other people can do it, why shouldn’t I try, too
Tide: Can you talk about how you enjoyed the dance team at Adelphi?
Schmich: I danced at Adelphi with their dance team with pom-style. It was short, though, because I ended up changing my major a bit. I really only did it for my freshman year when I was there, and it was good, it was a great experience. I don’t think I would be where I am if I hadn’t had that first initial reaction and that kind of experience with the dance team. It ended up just not really fitting with my schedule. I was working throughout college, and it was a lot to balance. I would say of my transition into a professional career that’s sort of out of the norm is that I did take a break from dance for a while I wasn’t 100 percent sure when I was finishing up college if I was going to continue. My last two years at school I didn’t dance much at all. I started to take a break from it and I was more involved in the gym and physical fitness in that sense and then at Hofstra because it’s for master’s, you can’t be on the dance team there if you’re master’s student, but I taught dance throughout that time at my mom’s studio and that was also where I started with Riptide. I was dancing just not through Hofstra; I was cheering for the Riptide team.
Tide: Please talk about dancing for the Riptide Dance Team for two years. Once again you were representing a local Long Island team.
Schmich: Yeah, absolutely. That was great. Dancing for the Riptide was definitely a great introduction to the professional world. I think it really did prepare me to move forward with my career. I think it was a great transition time in my life, where I was able to dance and able to stay in shape and retain choreography and work on a lot of things that are important when you are trying to audition for bigger teams such as the Patriots, and it was great. Everybody there was so kind, and the organization, I only have great things to say about it.
Tide: How did you end up getting involved with working for the Patriots?
Schmich: So, I actually knew a few people who had auditioned in previous years for the team, and I always knew if I was going to audition NFL that it would be for the Patriots. I love the look, I love the style. I think the team has such a great bond from what I can even just tell on social media. It seemed like everybody was very genuine and this past year when I was graduating, it just felt like the right time to audition, and I actually had reached out to just a few people on the team from Instagram and people who I didn’t even know personally, but they were so kind, and they were so willing to just tell me a bit about the audition process. The auditions are very involved, and they were so kind and so helpful.