Senior forward Katie O’Laughlin has led the UC San Diego women’s soccer team to a 13-2-2 overall record and an unbeaten 10-0-1 mark in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play this season. A team captain, Katie has amassed 15 total points on six goals and three assists, including two game-winning goals. As a junior in 2016, she was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America First-Team selection, Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) West Region Player of the Year and CCAA Offensive Player of the year. As Katie gets set to lead the Tritons into this weekend’s CCAA Tournament at UC San Diego, we caught up with her to discuss her love for marine biology, her high school experience and her favorite T.V. show.
Q: Thoughts on this season so far?
Katie: This season has all been about adversity. We lost a few seniors to injury and those are pretty big blows, but we’ve definitely seen our young players come up and fill those spots. We haven’t played our best soccer and haven’t been scoring as much as we have in the past, but we’ve finished games. Our grit, confidence and desire to win has come from everyone this entire season.
Q: What was it like attending Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad?
Katie: It was good. I started at public school, but I wanted the challenge. I brought the pamphlet home and told my parents, ‘I want to go here.’ It’s a really small school with a lot of smart, intelligent people. I think it brought an ability to question and analyze things in a different way. It was a new school, so we didn’t have the best athletic programs. But I definitely got to have more fun, hang out with friends and play soccer.
Q: Why did you choose to major in marine biology?
Katie: I’ve always loved biology. As a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. My mom is a doctor, so I’ve always been in that realm. But I decided being a doctor wasn’t for me. I’ve always loved the beach and the ocean, and I bounced around in different career paths within biology. So I thought, ‘Why am I avoiding the giant ocean that I love so much?’
Q: What do you enjoy most about attending UC San Diego?
Katie: One thing I love about this school is everyone is genuinely a good person. I’ve met about 20 new people just this (school) year. When I go to class, people are helpful. It’s competitive school, but people aren’t out for themselves. People are smart and are there to help you. I feel like I’m learning something new every day. It’s an environment where you can help yourself and you can help your neighbor, and I think it’s the best way to learn.
Q: How did you begin playing soccer?
Katie: My family is very athletic. My mom is an awesome runner and swimmer, and my dad played golf (at UC San Diego). I played basketball, soccer and softball when I was a kid. I kind of just stuck with soccer through it all. I just love how athletic you can be, and how you can roll around in the mud but still play a beautiful game.
Q: If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Katie: I need to go to Alaska; I really want to go somewhere cold. I want to backpack through Alaska, but in the spring, not winter.
Q: Celebrity you would like to meet?
Katie: Chris Pratt. He is one funny dude. I watch Parks and Recreation religiously.
Q: Favorite athlete?
Katie: Retired soccer player Carles Puyol for FC Barcelona. He exemplified sportsmanship and leadership, and he was an amazing defender. He wasn’t cocky, he played soccer because he loved it and he led the team to some great seasons.
Q: Favorite music artist?
Katie: Beyoncé. I love her. I went to her concert and it was amazing. I’ve loved her for a while. She’s all about “girl power” and has an awesome voice.
Q: Favorite thing to watch?
Katie: New Girl. It’s a solid laugh all the time. I quote it a lot with my friends.
Q: Prefer watersports or outdoors activities?
Katie: I love camping; it’s my favorite thing to do. Hiking too. In high school I backpacked through Yosemite (National Forest) and it was the greatest thing ever.
Q: Prefer taco shop, burger joint or pizza place?
Katie: Taco shop.
Q: Favorite fruit?
Katie: Peaches. They’re best when you grill them.
Q: Thoughts on the upcoming CCAA Tournament?
Katie: I’m really excited. We ended the season a little flat. We’ve been traveling the past few weekends, but I think being back on our home turf, we’ll definitely put some goals away. We’ve had some injuries, but we’re playing really well and cohesively. We have something to prove. Even though we went unbeaten during conference play, we definitely feel we can play better. We need to prove it to ourselves and this is a good opportunity.
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