September 28, 2011

Matheson Already in Striking Mode

By: Gabe Taylor '12

Lauren Matheson's (LM) career is compiled of noteworthy performances, honors and victories. Progressing into one of Santa Clara's biggest threats on the field her freshman and sophomore years, Matheson is already on track to have her most impressive season yet as a junior. Ten games into the season, Matheson has recorded three goals – the same number as in her first two seasons respectively. Matheson caught up with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) to discuss her soccer résumé, being a part of Santa Clara athletics, and how she believes the season will unfold.

SCB: How did you first get into soccer?

LM: I first started playing soccer when I was 4 years old because my older sister played it. Wanting to be exactly like her, I joined a team as soon as I was old enough to. From there, I grew a passion for the game because I loved how competitive it was.

SCB: In what ways did it help having an older sister (Alyssa) that also played soccer? Were you - and are you still - able to learn things from her?

LM: Having an older sister who played soccer gave me a role model to look up to. Whenever she learned something, I wanted to learn it too.  She was, and is to this day, always there to motivate me and help me become a better player. Though her competitive soccer days are over, she is still a great coach and mentor.

SCB: You were named the Gatorade State Player of the Year, First Team All-South Coast League and League MVP all in 2009. What was it like receiving so many prestigious awards?

LM: It was a little unreal for me. I was so thankful for my teammates and coaches because they were the reason for all of mine and the team's success that year.

SCB: What has been the most memorable game you've played in at any stage in your life? Why?

LM: The most memorable game was when my club team won the national championship in 2005. It was humid and 100 degrees in Florida.  No one wanted to go into overtime. The other team was undeniably the favorite to win. However, with just 20 seconds left on the clock we scored the game winner. I remember the game like it was yesterday and I will never forget the feeling I had when the final whistle blew.

SCB: What were you able to take away from being the U-15 National Team's captain, and playing in National Pools?

LM: Playing at the national level is definitely an eye opening experience. The level of play is so much more advanced and you really grow and mature as a player. Also, you get the opportunity to play with and get to know great players from all over the country. In fact, Olivia Klei and I became really good friends at the different national camps we went to together and here we are, years later, college teammates.

SCB: Why did you decide to come to Santa Clara?

LM: The main reason I was first drawn to Santa Clara was because of the soccer program. We have one of the best programs in the nation and I really felt that SCU was the place for me as a player. However, after many visits to the Mission Campus, I fell in love with its beauty and atmosphere. At Santa Clara, I knew I would be surrounded by good people who would allow me to mature the right way as a student, player and person.

SCB: What's you favorite part about playing on the team?

LM: My favorite part about playing on the Santa Clara women's soccer team is the girls. I have the best times with my teammates on and off the field. Whether we are doing weights and conditioning at 5am or celebrating someone's birthday, we have an awesome and memorable time together.

SCB: In 23 games your freshman year, you started 18 of them. Last year you started 10 games. What was it like being able to see playing time so early into your college career?

LM: Coming in as a freshman, I didn't know what to expect at this level. It was an honor for me being able to get some good playing time my freshman and sophomore year. No matter what year you are, you have to compete everyday for playing time and I hope I continue to show that I can make a positive impact on the team.

SCB: What are your expectations for the team this year?

LM: I definitely have high expectations for this team this year because we have good depth and talent.  We are really working hard to win a conference championship and make it to the final four.

SCB: How do you see your role developing now that the season is off and running with a 5-1-4 record?

LM: My goal is to develop more of a leadership role on the team and to contribute more offensively by creating goal-scoring opportunities for myself and my teammates.

SCB: What part of your game did you work on the most in the offseason?

LM: During the summer I worked the most on fitness, speed and strength. However, I had the opportunity to travel to Germany to play against women's professional club team where I focused more on technique and field awareness.

SCB: What are your personal goals for this season?

LM: One of my personal goals this season is to continue to be among the top goal scorers and play makers on the team. I am also working on developing more of a leadership role and taking on more responsibility.

SCB: What game are you anticipating the most that is still to come this season?

LM: The game I am anticipating the most this season is when we play Portland at Portland on national TV (ESPNU on Oct. 21). There's a bit of a conference rivalry between the two schools and it's always a fun and competitive match.

SCB: If you end up playing professionally, what team would you want to play for?

LM: I would be honored to play for any team in the WPS but it would be cool to play for the Boston Breakers because former Bronco Jordan Angeli plays for them and she was a great mentor to me when I was a freshman.