Schott on goal: Cal striker Laura Schott takes aim at Berkeley
women's soccer record
30 August 2002
By Bonnie Azab Powell, Public Affairs
BERKELEY - Senior Laura Schott is more goal-oriented
than most of her UC Berkeley classmates. And this star forward
for the Cal women's soccer team has her eye on seven goals in
Laura Schott scores so often that most teams have two players
shadow her, and "she gets taken down more than any
other player," says Coach Boyd. Photo by Patrick
That's how many balls the aptly named Schott needs to hit the
net with this season in order to break the Berkeley women's
record for career goals. Soccer titan Joy Fawcett (née
Biefeld), a World Cup and Olympics veteran now with the San
Diego Spirit club team, set Cal's record in 1989 with 133 points
and 55 goals. (A goal counts for two points; an assist, one.)
Going into this fall's season, Schott has 110 points and 49
"In my least-scoring season I had 11 goals, so I hope to come
up with seven," says the pony-tailed Schott as she mows methodically
through a large Caesar salad after a two-hour practice. "As
long as I don't get injured," she adds, rapping hard on the
While head coach Kevin Boyd, who's entering his sixth year
with the women's team, also expects her to surpass Fawcett's
total easily, he emphasizes that it's no small feat. "Laura
is one of the most proficient scorers I've ever worked with.
Still, in all my years here I never thought anyone would break
Joy's record," he says. "The disparity in talent when Joy came
through was just spectacular." He consults the historical records
and starts calling out game scores 6-0, 5-0, 6-1
showing just how much Cal dominated the competition in Fawcett's
Schott, meanwhile, is making her stand on a much tougher playing
field. Although the Golden Bears have made it to the NCAA tournament
the past four years in a row the first such streak in
school history they haven't advanced past the second
round since 1988. Last year, Cal finished fifth in the PAC-10
conference. Schott, however, led the PAC-10 for the second season
for the highest number of goals scored. In 2000 she tied Fawcett's
record of most goals in a season (23).
"Laura has a rare combination of tremendous athleticism, speed,
and balance three terrific traits that work together,"
praises Boyd. "Generally, someone as fast as Laura has a tendency
to get a lot of one-on-ones and not be able to put the ball
away. But she has just incredible composure. Once she gets a
chance at a shot, regardless of how much chaos is going on around
her, she's capable of relaxing her mind and body and getting
the ball in the goal."
Staying calm and focused on the ball is "not so easy when there
are 20 people flying around you," Schott points out, but she
can't explain how she does it she has no pre-game rituals,
lucky socks, or the Buddhist background of Tiger Woods. "I just
try to not freak out," she says simply.
21-year-old Schott has been playing soccer since she was
6; she won her first championship at 13. Photo by BAP
Called "Lo" by her teammates, Schott has collected almost as
many honors as she has goals. Last year she was a finalist for
the Hermann and the Missouri Athletic Club awards, which honor
the nation's top male and female college soccer players. As
a freshman and a junior she received Cal's Most Valuable Offensive
Player award. The PAC-10, the National Soccer Coaches of America
Association (NSCAA), and Soccer Buzz have all picked her for
their first teams at various points. She's played for the United
States' under-21 national team for which her goal and
three assists helped the U.S. bring home the Nordic Cup trophy
last July as well as its under-18 team.
Look back to her high-school record, and it's safe to say she
was never picked last for a scrimmage: she led Jesuit High School
in Wilsonville, Oregon, to four straight state championships
(including 92 consecutive wins), was on Parade magazine's high
school All-America list, and was named NSCAA's Oregon Player
of the Year as a junior and senior.
Yet despite all these trophies, Schott says that breaking Fawcett's
career record "would be an incredible honor." The fact that
the 34-year-old Fawcett has continued to dominate her sport
while delivering three children has clearly impressed Schott.
And like Fawcett, Schott hopes that in the spring she'll be
plucked for one of the eight pro teams that make up the Women's
United Soccer Association (WUSA).
Again, Coach Boyd thinks her goal won't present much of a challenge.
"Her chances for pro are very good. She's definitely got the
strength and speed to play at that level," he says. "Add the
fact that she's quite a goal scorer, and I think a number of
teams are going to want her."
Schott would love to play for the San Jose CyberRays, but says
she'd go anywhere that drafted her. If she does take the spring
semester off to play professionally, she'll return to Berkeley
in fall 2003 to finish off her double major in political science
and mass communications, in which she maintains a B+ average.
Should she turn pro, she would no longer be playing for Cal
"I don't know what I would do with all the extra time," muses
Schott. "There are a lot of things I'd like to explore." An
avid hiker and occasional golfer, she's started taking photographs
of the views from the Berkeley hills.
She certainly doesn't have much free time now. The two-hour
practices that start every day at either 10 or 10:30 a.m. and
the Friday afternoon games have made class scheduling a headache.
"There have been some film courses that I really wanted to take
but couldn't, like all the ones with discussion sessions that
meet on Fridays," she says, a little wistfully.
"Mia Hamm has a bigger
building on the Nike campus than either Michael Jordan
or Tiger Woods. That's just amazing to me."
Only a little, however. "I'm kind of at a point right now where
I'm exploring other things besides soccer, and I have to compromise,"
she shrugs. "But I think it's worth it."
Schott laced up her first pair of cleats when she was six.
The only soccer player in her immediate family, she began getting
serious around age 13, when her club team won the state championship.
Since then, pretty much every summer and vacation has been spent
in the pursuit of the black-and-white ball. When she's not playing
on a club team or for Cal, Schott teaches preteen soccer camps.
Women's soccer has tripled in visibility since she was the
age of the girls she coaches, she says, and that shift can be
traced to a single sports bra. The U.S. women's soccer team
won the 1991 World Cup and the Olympics in 1996 without the
world paying too much attention. It took Brandi Chastain exuberantly
stripping off her jersey after nailing the winning penalty shot
for the 1999 World Cup before the U.S. team landed on front
pages all over the nation. As Chastain made the rounds of talk
shows and Nike signed up soccer star Mia Hamm for an ad campaign,
girls started fastening their shin guards in record numbers.
"The coverage of women's soccer has just grown and grown,"
marvels Schott. "Now Mia Hamm has a bigger building on the Nike
campus than either Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. That's just
amazing to me."
Schott hasn't planned her life beyond the goal of turning pro.
"I still have a lot to learn about what I want to do," she says.
"I'm not competitive in every area of my life, but I definitely
need something to do that I can be the best at. Soccer just
happens to be where all my energy has gone."
With her composure and grace under pressure, it's safe to say
that this 21-year-old will put away anything she decides to
take a shot at.