The Women’s Soccer team at Florida State University (FSU) has quite the golden reputation, from winning the 2018 NCAA Women’s soccer championship, coming up in a close second last year for the same tournament despite the pandemic and now being 10 games into their season with no losses yet.
A player who continues to contribute to the team’s success is senior Gabrielle Carle.
Carle began her journey on the soccer field when she was only five years old, living in Quebec City. “I mean at first I didn’t really understand how it worked. I just would stand on the field and…people were running around me…” stated Carle regarding her first few memories of playing soccer.
“I grew up with [soccer] and eventually, I realized that it was possible for me to go professional and play for my national team and it became a dream of mine,” she explained. The year 2007 was a turning point for Carle’s relationship with soccer, as she watched her first Women’s World Cup. “Before that, I didn’t know that women’s soccer could go international and I just kind of realized then that I could do that,” Carle noted.
At the ripe age of nine years old, Carle told her father she wanted to be a professional soccer player and she sure has built the resume to support it. She may appear like an average senior, just carrying out her bachelor’s in exercise physiology, however she is anything but. Holding a 2020 Olympic Gold medal, a 2018 NCAA National Championship and even more titles through her years of experience, Carle is a force to be reckoned with on any field.
Most college students try to take the summer in a relaxing manner; not Carle though, as she was competing on the Canadian Women’s soccer team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Carle said, “I’ve been on my [Senior] National Team since I was 17…so I’ve been around for awhile and it’s been a lot of the same people so…we connect with each other so well on and off the field.”
This was Canada’s first gold medal in Women’s Soccer. It was a monumental moment for fans and especially the team of women who had come together to make it happen. “[We’re] a team that really appreciates being around each other and I think that’s our x-factor,” Carle stated.
While Carle has been on her national team for almost six years, she is also a prominent part of FSU’s Women’s Soccer Team. Carle said, “I play outside back and that’s a position where normally you don’t really get [substituted]. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past four years as a Seminole, two games a week just—game in game out, playing [90 minutes]; I think what’s really important is being professional and being aware of recovery and doing all the little things to make sure that you’re ready for every game.”
There is no doubt that Carle makes it sound easier than it really is, but her experience on the team and with her outside teams has assisted her in finding a groove. She explained, “Two hours before the game is when I do most of my preparation…I think routines really helped to just cement processes and get you prepared for what you’re about to do.” Carle further commented that she likes to listen to a variety of music before entering an arena: French, Spanish, English, any “pump-up” songs she can find that get her ready to play.
But nothing can prepare anyone for when a pandemic throws off your entire schedule. Carle said, “During the time I was quarantining in 2020, I think none of us got to play soccer and I hadn’t realized how much it would affect me. I got back on the field and…my footwork, my vision on the field and my instincts were just like completely off…and I was at the point where I was like ‘I don’t even know if I can ever get back to where I was.’”
She voiced her frustrations against the turn of events and how it negatively impacted her physical game, therefore having a domino effect on her mental perception of herself when playing. She was luckily quick to bounce back. “It was really hard, but I mean they are habits so eventually, they start coming back and now I’m doing completely fine but for a period of time it was a struggle,” Carle stated.
Not only is Carle’s confidence, drive and ambition a reason for her success, but her attitude towards leadership and her teammates. “When you enjoy being around people it makes you want to work with them; you want to…sacrifice yourself for them,” she said. Despite the struggles of the pandemic, all her accomplishments, experiences and hard work embellish her into a rockstar of a player.
She is driven by her, “own ambition” and said, “[When] there’s goals I want to achieve…that’s what I go for.” Further stating that while she would like to strengthen her education and potentially go to medical school, her current focus is “playing professionally.” As you can tell by all her accomplishments, she should have no problem getting there.
Carle is ecstatic over FSU Soccer’s success this season and credits it to that “we’re just a very talented, disciplined, hardworking team…everyone has the same vision and…I think when you have so many good players on the team that all want the same thing, whose visions align, then…it converts into a successful season.”
FSU’s soccer team still has a handful of games left until the ACC tournament begins, but for now, Seminole fans can continue to show their support for Carle and the team!