As a transfer from the University of Houston, then sophomore midfielder Sharis Lachappelle earned Big 12 conference honors in her first game as a Longhorn and lead the team with five goals. This year, she’s tied as the team’s leading scorer again, but that’s not what matters most.
“The all-conference and newcomer thing: It’s nice to receive, but at the end of the season those are just extra things,” Lachappelle said. “It’s not my goal.”
For Lachappelle, now a junior studying mathematics, her ultimate goal is to be as productive as possible to help bring her team success.
“It’s not my goal to get individual awards; I would much rather have a Big 12 ring or a national championship ring,” she said. “I don’t really care about my name in the paper more so than I like to see our team’s name in the paper.”
Lachappelle has notched four goals on 20 shots on goal and three assists so far in 2013. Head coach Angela Kelly said her left-footed shot makes her a threat when it comes to scoring.
“She’s a naturally left-footed player and they’re worth their weight in gold in the game of soccer,” Kelly said. “She’s just got a ton of creativity and willingness to put the ball in the back of the net and take responsibility for a team.”
To Lachappelle, scoring is an experience that brings the team together, a fulfilling moment for her after all her hard work.
“When your teammates are hugging you, there really isn’t any really greater feeling,” Lachappelle said. “It’s just a really rewarding feeling knowing that all your practice and preseason and everything that you work for is really paying off.”
Math is an offbeat major for an athlete, but she enjoys problem solving on and off the field.
“As a kid, I just always loved math problems, so it just made sense to major in math, and calculus is definitely my favorite math,” she said. “I like taking derivatives and integrals, I don’t know, that stuff is fun.”
As a member of UTeach, a program in which she will graduate with a teaching degree, Lachappelle said she’s considered teaching math at any level but ultimately sees herself back on a college campus as a professor but at a smaller university than Texas.
Kelly said she’s not surprised by Lachappelle’s goal of teaching and thinks her personality lends to a career like that.
“Honestly, I think that Sharis has been given qualities that are trending much more toward people,” Kelly said. “She needs to be giving back to the community, and I think if she was to become a professor, I think that would be wonderfully suited for her.”
Texas has only one game remaining in regular season play, and as the Longhorns move toward tournament play, Lachappelle’s personality and leadership ability will be key for the Longhorns to make a deep run. For Lachappelle, each day is a teaching moment, and the team still remembers the hard lesson of missing the NCAA tournament last season.