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Starting a new chapter

by Matthew Ondesko: Managing Editor

And just like that one chapter has ended, while another one is ready to be written.

It has been a great, and fruitful, four years for Wet Seneca West High School soccer player Carly Lawrence. During her time at West, Lawrence leaned about herself, made a lot of friends and improved her soccer game each and every year.

While this chapter of her life is now done, Lawrence is ready for what the future holds.

“My journey at West Seneca West has been an amazing experience! It’s hard to believe that when I started playing varsity soccer my freshmen year, we were wearing masks because of the pandemic. We had a very competitive team that year and I learned a lot from the upperclassmen about how to be a great teammate because they were all very welcoming to me,” stated Lawrence. “High School has definitely made me the fierce competitor that I am and has taught me determination, perseverance, tenacity and leadership. I have also had so many incredible teammates throughout the years and developed countless friendships playing soccer at West. I cannot wait for my future at SUNY Geneseo and to play for the Geneseo Women’s Soccer Team. I am extremely excited and grateful for this amazing opportunity to play at a whole new level.”

The next chapter will take Lawrence to Geneseo. Like most who have gone through it, the recruiting process has had its ups and downs. It’s not easy for a high school athlete to have to basically recruit themselves.

Lawrence was the one that was sending out tape on herself, and emailing coaches to see if they might be interested. She definitely learned a lot about herself. She leaned that hard work does pays off.

The more work Lawrence put in, the more rewarding it was starting to become.

“Going through the recruiting process is a lot of work but is also very rewarding. The work you put in determines how much notice you receive and even though it was sometimes time-consuming, I am so happy that I stuck with it,” stated Lawrence. “Playing for my club team, I started attending college showcases my sophomore year of high school which is when I started reaching out to coaches. I would email coaches prior to showcases and invite them to come watch me play. Following the showcases, interested coaches would reach out to me and I would usually schedule a zoom or a call with them to learn more about their program.”

When she finally settled on Geneseo is was a dream come true. She always wanted to play at the next level. She always wanted to prove herself, and see how far she could take soccer. When she did decide on a college it also was a little bitter sweet.

Lawrence had to tell all the other school’s that were recruiting her that she had finally made a decision. She said every coach she dealt with were so nice. While she was with her club team, coaches would come down to see her play during the showcase tournaments.

“All of the college coaches I talked to were so nice and complimentary. In addition to attending showcases, I also had to continuously pull updated film and create new highlight videos that I would send out regularly. Geneseo didn’t attend the showcases I played in so to get their attention I had to attend camps and send film every couple of weeks to their coach,” stated Lawrence. “When deciding on a college, it was important for me to choose a good academic school that I would love even if I didn’t play soccer. Once I decided on Geneseo, it was hard to contact the other coaches and turn down their recruiting offers because they were all so nice! One thing I learned about the recruiting process is that each coach recruits in a different way whether it's attending camps, going to showcases or even just sending film, they are all unique and that’s what makes it fun.”

Geneseo is getting a great player both on and off the field. On the field, Lawrence was a leader for WSW. She commanded the midfield every time she stepped on the pitch. Her play on the field got a lot of notice, and had other teams game planning against her.

Playing in the midfield is not for the faint of heart. Midfielders are the backbone of the team. They are the ones that are playing both ways. Lawrence was counted on to pull the strings out on the pitch.

She was tasked to score and set up plays. She was also tasked to be the rock in the midfield. Making sure that everyone was on the same page. One way to do that was by having great communication.

“Midfield has always been my favorite position because of how much action I get. I love to run all over the field and play both offense and defense and to be involved in every play. While playing midfield, it is very important to have good communication on the field,” stated Lawrence “During games, I would always talk to my teammates by offering direction, complimenting good plays, helping with their awareness and motivating them when we needed to pick things up. I would always work-hard every game to set an example on the field for what we all needed to do. I have played many positions over my soccer career so I can understand each of them to a certain level which helps to deepen my connection with my teammates and assist them with becoming even better players and gaining more confidence in themselves.”

With some much attention on Lawrence during games, there comes a lot of pressure.

Sometimes the pressure is coming from Lawrence herself. She is a very competitive person, and wants to be the best at whatever she does.

That includes being the best leader possible on the pitch. Lawrence wants to make sure the girls can come to her if they have any issues on or off the pitch. Being a captain is important to her, and she takes it extremely seriously.

“I often put a lot of pressure on myself because of how important soccer is to me. I have always been a very competitive person and I want to always perform at my best,” stated Lawrence . “Especially with being a Captain, I knew how important it was for me to be a strong leader whether that was getting my team focused for a game or just supporting them and lifting them up when they made a mistake. I have always loved cheering on my teammates and helping them to be the best that they can be both on and off the field.”

Lawrence’s soccer IQ is something that sets her a part from other players. Playing the game since she has been 3-years old, Lawrence is a student of the game. She studies the game, and know’s where she needs to be at all times on the pitch.

Something that hasn’t been talked about, too, is where she has played on the field. While she has found a home at center midfield, Lawrence has played almost every position since growing up. By playing all over the pitch, that allows Lawrence to get a better feel.

“I have played soccer since I was three years old. I have also played almost every position on the field which is why I have a high soccer IQ and understand the game so well. As a midfielder, it is my responsibility to receive the ball and know what I am going to do with it before it hits my foot,” stated Lawrence. “One of my strengths is my first touch so it has always been natural for me to win balls and make the next play setting up my teammate with a great shot. That's one of the things that I love most about playing midfield because I love to see my teammates thrive as well.”

But, it’s the midfield where she belongs. She is the captain. She is a versatile player that can play anywhere on the field for her coaches. You want her to lock down an opposing player, Lawrence is there. You need her to score a goal, Lawrence doesn’t mind pushing up.

It’s all about making the team’s she plays on better.

“A perk of playing center mid is the opportunity to play both offensive and defensive. I have played both attacking and defensive center mid along with almost every other position on the field as well which has given me even more of an understanding of my teammate’s positions. I have the ability to use both feet so I can switch the field either way with ease,” stated Lawrence. “I have built up a lot of endurance which allows me to keep up the energy needed to be both offensive and defensive throughout the game. It’s a good feeling going into college soccer knowing that wherever the coach needs a player on the field, I am versatile and can play anywhere.”

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