Hometown Girl, Big Dreams
Sept. 22, 2011
FRESNO, Calif. - Senior Laura Dodd walked onto the Fresno State women's soccer team as a freshman and has appeared in all but one of the Bulldogs games over the course of her career. The Clovis High School alumna grew up minutes from Bulldog Stadium and now sits among the leaders in five different categories this season.
She has been with the 'Dogs through two Western Athletic Conference titles and remembers seeing the team first when she was five years old.
"My first elementary school team [and I] would come to games all the time," said Dodd. "It's weird being here now because I thought they were amazing. I couldn't wait to run out and get autographs. I looked up to them."
Dodd began playing competitive soccer in club leagues at age 10. By the time she hit high school, she made an immediate impact on the program. By the end of her senior year, Dodd had helped lead the Cougars soccer team to two Tri-River Athletic Conference championships. The two year captain was also a four-time first-team All-TRAC selection.
"It was exciting," said Dodd of playing against the local teams. "Everyone looked forward to the [Buchanan] game. My best friends were on that team so it was fun being able to go out and kick the ball around with them."
Dodd's high school honors included the Tim Simons Sportsmanship and Character Award and the Kay Kuffner Memorial Award, given to the Clovis High School top female athlete of the year. With a 3.6 GPA and stellar high school playing career behind her, Dodd set her sights on the future and college. But because of an injury that limited her playing during her sophomore and junior years, Dodd missed the peak recruiting time of her career.
"I thought I wasn't going to play soccer," said Dodd.
Her high school coach offered her an alternative. He informed her of a walk-on position available at Fresno State. When she and her parents approached former Bulldog Head Coach Steve Springthorpe about the opportunity, he gave them a candid answer.
"He came out and watched a couple of my games," said Dodd, "and said the offer was there if I wanted it. But it was a year to year kind of deal. I wouldn't be promised my sophomore year. Basically, [he] told me I would never play or travel. I'm glad he told me all of that because that made me want to prove him wrong."
She was accepted to Fresno State and began classes, along with practice, in the fall of 2008 where she quickly made an impression on the coaching staff. Dodd earned her collegiate playing debut against UC Davis on Aug. 24, 2008, the second game of the season. She spent 32 minutes on the pitch.
"I would dream of it," said Dodd of being a Bulldog. "But I never thought it would actually happen."
From 2008-2010, the Bulldogs competed in 64 contests. Dodd appeared in 63. She scored her first collegiate goal in the WAC Tournament against Nevada on Nov. 7, 2008. In 2010, she recorded career highs in nine different categories including: games played (23), games started (19), goals (4), points (9), shots (18) and shots on goal (10).
Dodd also etched her name in the programs record books. She; joined by fellow seniors Kendall VanDine and Rachel Pickett, junior Callie Hancock, and former Bulldog Nicole Duff; became the teams assist leaders of 2009.
The communicative disorders major plans on becoming a speech therapist working in hospitals after she finishes her degree this spring.
"Most likely rehabilitative when people get in accidents or have a stroke," added Dodd.
The midfielder has started every game this season, recording a goal and an assist for three points.
Fun Facts on Laura Dodd
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
How many different color socks do you have in your drawer right now?
Who do you hang out with most on the team?
Dogs or cats
What is your favorite bow to wear?
What kind of backpack do you have?
What is your favorite Starbucks drink?
"We Are Your Team!"Look out for the Bulldogs big promotion during their next home match against No. 8 Pepperdine on Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. Every fan in attendance will receive a prize. You can always stay connected with Fresno State Athletics on Facebook (fresnostateathletics) and Twitter (@FSAthletics).