Schoales acclimating to collegiate soccer

Becca Schoales is back on the field at the University of Washington after not playing her senior session at SKHS because of a knee injury. - Courtesy Photo
Becca Schoales is back on the field at the University of Washington after not playing her senior session at SKHS because of a knee injury.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

SEATTLE — Imagine playing college athletics at the highest level without the benefit of playing as a senior in high school.

Meet Becca Schoales.

Schoales, who graduated in June from South Kitsap, already is playing at significant role at the University of Washington even though she has not competed competitively in more than a year since she tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee.

Schoales since her biggest issue initially was “trusting my knee again.” Then it was getting comfortable on the field again after her lengthy layoff.

“The first practice it felt like I had two left feet,” she said. “That’s not very fun.”

Given the circumstances, UW coach Lesle Gallimore said she is impressed with Schoales so far. She noted that Schoales worked hard during the offseason with her rehabilitation.

“It’s been a long time since she’s played at a competitive level and I’ve been really impressed with her work rate in the preseason and how she’s improved from week one until now,” Gallimore said. “She’s starting to understand the physical level that’s needed to perform at a high level here. She’s still trying to regain her strength.”

Before she sustained her knee injury, Schoales generally was regarded as the state’s top recruit in the Class of 2013. She made the decision to commit to UW in December 2011 over North Carolina. Gallimore said she first saw Schoales two or three years before she signed.

“It was a bummer that she got her, but we still had full confidence that she would be able to come in and perform at the level we expect her to,” she said.

Schoales said the knee now “feels great” and she playing for the Huskies, where she is close enough to home that her parents and friends regularly can watch her play. The greatest challenge has come on the field where UW, which has reached the NCAA Tournament in four of the last five seasons, fell to 1-3-0 after Sunday’s 1-0 loss against Boise State.

“The thing for me that has been a little bit of a bummer has been the performance of some of our returning players,” Gallimore said. “(Schoales’) had a lot heaped on her shoulders right off the bat. That’s fine and I think she’s risen to the occasion, but it would be nice if she would get a little more help.”

Schoales, a 5-foot-9 forward, played 73 out of 90 minutes against BSU, which was her most this season. With the Huskies scoring just one goal this season entering today’s game against Wake Forest in Portland, Gallimore is just looking for some players who can provide offense.

“If Becca starts scoring goals and showing us that she’s dangerous in front of the net … she’s going to start earning more and more time,” she said.

Schoales mostly has been able to concentrate on soccer as classes do not begin until Sept. 25 at UW. Despite that, Schoales already is thinking about her future. For years, Schoales envisioned being a cardiologist. That stemmed from when she was diagnosed as a 2-month-old with Kawasaki disease, a rare condition in children and infants that involves inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body. The life-saving diagnosis by her cardiologist inspired Schoales to pursue that as a career.

But after meeting with leaders at UW’s Foster School of Business, Schoales said she has decided to seek a degree in anything from accounting to marketing.

While college life has spawned new interests for Schoales, she still relishes catching up with long time friends. Next Friday, the Huskies will host Seattle University, whose goalkeeper is Bri Smallidge, a 2012 South graduate.

“On the field we’re not going to be buddies, but off the field I’m good friends with Bri and I hope the best for her,” Schoales said.

For now, Schoales is adjusting to playing style of her current teammates. With the exception of Isabel Farrell, who also played on Crossfire Premier, Schoales did not play club soccer with any of her UW teammates.

“We have very good chemistry from our other team,” she said. “It will be nice when I have that chemistry with others on the team, too.”

Just consider it another aspect of the adjustment process.

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