Breaking into any first team is by no means an easy feat. Breaking into the team as a freshman and returning the highest goal tally for the season in one fell swoop? Enter Leah Bowyer, UTD women’s soccer forward.
An undeclared sophomore, Bowyer started playing soccer as a 5 year old back in her home town of Lubbock, Texas, when her parents enrolled her in different sports as a kid. Bowyer said she stuck with soccer because she enjoyed playing it the most.
Soccer played a major role in Bowyer’s decision to study at UTD. Having played soccer at Coronado High School, Bowyer said all she wanted to do was play soccer while studying in college.
“I had an academic distinction scholarship but had to go to a school that played soccer. I wanted to go somewhere where soccer was going to be part of my life,” Bowyer said.
Although she specialized in soccer, she had interests in other sports as well.
“I absolutely love playing volleyball, and that is something I’m not gifted at. I’m not tall,” she said. “If I were taller, it would be pretty close to soccer.”
As a freshman last fall, adjusting to a new style and new teammates was no big deal for Bowyer.
“I was just going out there and playing, not worrying about impressing anyone,” Bowyer said. “As long as I was trying hard and being a part of the team, I felt something good would come out of it. I had fun and worked hard. And, it paid off,”
Bowyer said she only started playing as a forward after she joined the Comets last season. She started out in central defense in high school and also played the sweeper and center midfield roles towards the end of her high school career.
“It was a learning experience. I felt if the coach really had that much faith that I would do well, I would try as hard as I could,” Bowyer said. “At some point I was learning from other forwards who had played the position their whole lives.”
Assistant women’s soccer coach Katie Johnson said the coaching staff decided to play Bowyer as a forward because of her skill, speed and ability to read the game.
“She came up big in big games. When we really needed a goal, she showed up,” Johnson said.
The 2008 season, Bowyer’s first with the Comets, saw her play a total of 21 games, scoring 13 goals, four of which were game winners. Bowyer also topped the assists chart with a total of eight assists.
“It’s hard to explain. I think it’s just the team going out there and playing hard,” she said.
Bowyer, along with three of her team mates, was selected to the 2008 All-American Southwest Conference first team by the conference’s 13 coaches. Come the new season, Bowyer said she wouldn’t let the pressure get to her.
“I’m very proud of it but at the same time, I feel like I have to work harder the next two years. I just want the team to keep getting better and I hope to be a part of that,” Bowyer said.
Bowyer looks forward to the new season with one thing on her mind. She wants the Comets to become a closer knit family.
“We really want the championship but I think to be able to do that, we need to become a family,” she said. “I believe in our team. If everybody comes in wanting it, we would be able to achieve that.”