Typically, it takes the newcomers on a team to adjust and grow into the leadership role, but that isn’t quite the case with Omaha women’s soccer midfielder, Carlie Cook.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma native transferred from the University of Tulsa in 2015 and enrolled in classes last spring so she wouldn’t have to sit out the regular season due to NCAA transfer rules. Cook got off to a hot start and showed her new Maverick teammates what they should expect from her when the regular season begins.
Cook recorded Omaha’s lone goal against Creighton in a 2-1 loss last spring and she netted the Mav’s only goal against the Bluejays this fall in a 3-1 loss at Caniglia Field in late August.
Cook has since accounted for 18 shots on the year, 11 on goal, with four finding the back of the net and a pair of those game-winners. The junior transfer is producing a .222 shot average so far and is 1 for 1 on penalty kicks thus far in the 2016 season.
Cook has really stepped in to a few major roles the Mavs needed, one that had to be filled since losing 2015 leading goal-scorer Chelsi Rohloff to graduation last year. That role is a reliable scorer; a player who can put the ball on goal to make something happen at any point in the game whether in the lead or behind. Second, is a key leader that can bring the Omaha team together for a complete 90 minutes, which was proven when Cook’s teammates voted her team captain for this season’s first three games.
“That meant a lot coming from stepping into a new team and receiving votes to be their captain, a new player, was really amazing,” Cook said. “At first I didn’t really expect that. I came in really with the expectations to get playing time, hopefully have a good season and I think I’ve exceeded my own personal expectations unexpectedly. I’m really happy with that.”
Cook was a four-year letter-winner at Cascia High School in Tulsa, where she earned her school’s “Golden Boot,” award and was team captain her sophomore and junior season. Cook was name her team’s offensive MVP during her senior season and was on the all-state team. In her four-year varsity career at Cascia, Cook scored 93 goals with 19 assists and accounted for 205 points.
Cook says she didn’t feel all that comfortable while attending the University in her home town and decided after two seasons she wanted to transfer.
“Ever since I got there it just didn’t feel like home to me, it didn’t feel like the right place,” Cook said. “I went back and forth both years, should I leave? Should I not leave? Am I happy? Am I unhappy? In just about every area not only athletically but academically, socially, am I enjoying it?””
After pondering the decision over the course of two long seasons, Cook decided to leave and take her talents elsewhere, but said the decision was tough.
“I ultimately decided no, pretty much in every area so that’s when I decided to leave. It was a really hard decision,” Cook said.
Cook reached out to Junior Defender Jessica Bollinger at the end of the 2014 season looking for a school that might possibly be taking transfers. Bollinger got in touch with women’s head coach Don Klostermann, and connected the two.
“I texted her (Bollinger) and she put a good word in for me with Don and luckily they took me. Not everyone can find a place to go when they transfer, you kind of take a risk,” said Cook.
Cook has not only stepped into the role as leading scorer, but she’s found a couple teammates that has elevated her own game.
“I really enjoy playing with Lauren Lawlor, I think her work ethic is just incredible, she hustles the whole game. And Emily Romero, we pair well together she’s assisted on all three of my goals during play so far so I’ve immediately connected on the field with her playing wise.”
“I couldn’t be happier that I decided to leave.” Cook said.