Laura Mayer

Captain Poses an Offensive and Defensive Threat

Running fast handling a soccer ball and booting if into the net have always come easily for Laura Mayer, one of the Harvard women's soccer learns three captains. How ever, finding a team to play on, playing the position she would like and getting the recognition she deserves, have not.

The story of Mayer's soccer career is in many ways typical of the old era of female Harvard soccer players, the ones who started just before the sport became so popular and organized.

Until she came to Harvard four years ago, the Leverett House resident had never played for a school affiliated team. The only organized soccer in Atlanta. Mayer's hometown, was the YMCA league which Mayec and a group of her friends joined when they were nine. The situation was far from ideal; the coaches were usually fathers of the players, and everyone was restricted to playing only one half.

A lack of real competition was not the only obstacle that Mayer faced. Her father a former German professional soccer player himself, did not want his daughter playing.

"He didn't think it was a proper sport for a girl In Europe it's a street sport for boys." Mayer explains. "But after a year or two, he resigned himself to it and even thought it was nice."

Mayer thought so too, and continued to play in the YMCA league for the next nine years. Besides being one of the league's foremost right forward wings, she ran track and played basketball for her high school In fact. Mayer considered attending UVA and playing for its nationally acclaimed basketball squad. But once she arrived at Harvard, Mayer put her high tops away for good.

Her freshman year, Mayer found her favorite position, right forward wing occupied by the very talented and more experienced Catherine Ferrante. So, Mayer began playing wing fullback, a spot she had only placed once before. Yet, despite her lack of experience she did very well in the backfield.

"Laura is very versatile," soccer coach Bob Scalise says. "Her speed enables her to beat people when she's playing offense, and to cover almost anyone on defense."

Throughout her four years here, Scalise has made the most of Mayer's versatility, moving her from attack to defense and back again when the need arises. Last year Mayer filled in when fullback Ellen Jakovic was injured, and this year she moved back to offense when it became apparent that the team needed more offensive punch.

In the recent NCAA tournament, Mayer finally found herself playing right wing forward for the first time in four years. She obviously hadn't lost her touch, scoring the Crimson's lone goal in its 2-1 loss to St. Louis, last Saturday in the NCAA quarterfinals--only the fifth goal scored against St. Louis all season. In spite of all the switching around this fall, Mayer is second on the squad in scoring with 17 goals, and second in shooting and assists as well.

"He didn't think it was a proper sport for a girl. In Europe it's a street sport for boys." Mayer explains. "But after a year or two, he resigned himself to it and even thought it was nice."

Mayer thought so too, and continued to play in the YMCA league for the next nine years. Besides being one of the league's foremost right forward wings, she ran track and played basketball for her high school. In face, Mayer considered attending UVA and playing for its nationally acclaimed basketball squad. But once she arrived at Harvard. Mayer put her high tops away for good.

Her freshman year, Mayer found her favorite position, right forward wing occupied by the very talented and more experienced Catherine Ferrante. So, Mayer began playing wing fullback, a spot she had only placed once before. Yet, despite her lack of experience she did very well in the backfield.

"Laura is very versatile." soccer coach Bob Scalise says. "Her speed enables her to bear people when she's playing offense, and to cover almost anyone on defense."

Throughout her four years her. Scalise her made the most of Mayer's versatility, moving her form attack to defense and back again when the need arises. Last year Mayer filled in when fullback Ellen Jakovic was injured, and this year she moved back to offense when it became apparent that the team needed more offensive punch.