Being a freshman is never easy.
The pressure to fit in, perform at a top level and adjust to college classes can be overwhelming for a young athlete — especially coming into a soccer program that has won back-to-back Mid-American Conference championships and has led the nation in grade-point average the past six seasons.
But freshman Laura Gosse has had little difficulty adjusting to pressure.
She has already enjoyed a tremendous amount of success, scoring three goals, which is tied for the team lead. She is also second on the team with 16 shots.
But possessing a scoring touch is nothing new for Gosse.
The Ontario native scored 19 goals in a seven-game season in 2010 and 21 goals in 2009-10 playing for her U-18 indoor club team.
Expecting that kind of production at the collegiate level is unrealistic, but she has the potential to turn into a dominant scorer for the Chippewas.
“Just playing with the people I am, they help me a lot on the field,” Gosse said. “Their leadership has helped me grow a lot.”
Gosse knew about the recent success of the CMU soccer team.
“I knew I was going to have to work hard in order to play and make an impact on the games,” Gosse said.
In the 71st minute during a game against Indiana State, Gosse made eye contact with senior Claire Horton as she lobbed a pass over the top of the defenders. Five seconds later, the ball was in the back of the net and Gosse scored her first collegiate goal.
Understandably so, the joy of scoring her first goal allowed her to boast a minor cheer for accomplishing this feat. Her teammates gave her a hard time for the celebration — of course it was all in good fun.
“I like clapped for myself,” Gosse said. “It was really embarrassing, but I was really happy afterward, because scoring the first one is always the hardest.”
Finding a goal scorer
During her senior year in high school, Gosse wanted to come to a U.S. school because she believed it was better competition than the universities in Canada. However, she did not want to move too far from home.
Gosse and her dad then began looking into clinics and found CMU’s clinic last December. She completed a successful clinic, scoring goals in bunches. She caught the eye of, at the time, head coach Tom Anagnost.
When Anagnost decided to take the head coaching job at Miami University, the assistant coaches informed current head coach Neil Stafford of Gosse’s impressive showing at the clinic. As a result, Stafford went to watch her play in Canada and saw enough to bring her into the program.
“I think finding goal scorers is difficult,” Stafford said. “And Laura Gosse scores goals. I saw a hard-working young woman who I think is going to be a real good college player.”
Gosse had nothing but praise for Stafford, saying he was easy to talk with and has helped her out during practice.
“He knows when to pick you up when you’re down and he knows when to be tough on you so that you get better,” Gosse said.
She also gave a lot of credit to her family whom was supportive in whatever decision she made — even if it didn’t include soccer.
Even with her early success, Gosse knows there is still room for improvement. Four games into the season against Kentucky, a Southeastern Conference opponent, Gosse had a chance to win the game in overtime.
She had a one-on-one opportunity with just her and the goalkeeper, but failed to convert as CMU eventually lost to Kentucky 2-1, its only loss of the season.
The biggest aspect for Gosse is to maintain her composure. She realizes if she makes a mistake, she just has to do better next time and keep improving.
When her collegiate career is over, Gosse aspires to keep playing soccer at the professional level or with the Canadian national team. After her soccer playing days are over, she hopes to pursue a career in criminology.
“I know a couple of people from my home town that have tried out for Canada and even if I don’t make it, it is still a great experience,” Gosse said.