By Collin Bryant | Sports Writer
Baylor soccer senior midfielder Caitlin Schwartz considers her time at Baylor a second chance that she doesn’t want to take for granted.
Schwartz, like many of her teammates, began playing at a very early age. Starting at the age of 3, she said she was originally terrible at it, but enjoyed playing with many of her new found friends. Schwartz went into the YMCA league with friends, transitioned into club soccer and remained on the same club team her entire pre-college career.
Coming out of varsity high school soccer, Schwartz was going to come to Baylor as a walk on. However, Sam Houston State snagged the senior after offering better incentives, including a guarantee of scholarships and playing time as a freshman. While she felt there was more certainty on the front end of her career as a Bearkat, she said she kind of knew she was going to leave.
Schwartz played center midfielder almost her entire life, including her time at Sam Houston until an injury forced to her change positions. She then began playing center back, replacing that injured player, and never moved back.
After her freshman year, Schwartz wanted more of a challenge on the field. She said it felt like she was still playing club versus college soccer. So, when she decided to leave Sam Houston State, Baylor head coach Paul Jobson said she still had a place at Baylor.
Jobson said that Baylor was lucky to get a second chance to land Schwartz.
“I think if she had gone through her career at Sam Houston State or gone somewhere else, we would have looked at her post career and said, ‘Man, that’s one that got away,’” Jobson said. “So we’re fortunate that we had a second opportunity to get her here at Baylor, because she’s added a lot to our team.”
The senior said she got the challenge she desired by coming to Baylor. She said the daily expectation was to do more than just showing up to practice. It required 100 percent effort every day.
Schwartz said she knew both Jobson and his wife Marci’s style and what they expected from her before she joined the team.
“I knew Marci and [Paul] Jobson. I knew how their style was — very competitive. You’re going to give everything practice-wise and game-wise,” Schwartz said.
She said playing at Baylor has been humbling because the alternative was not playing at all. However, Jobson saw something in her, pushing her to want to be a better player while she was here.
Schwartz said playing for Jobson at Baylor has helped her improve her skills on the field and develop leadership skills as well.
“Soccer has always made me want to be better, whether it’s a skill or something,” Swartz said. “I think it has put me in leadership roles — like how to work with a group.”
After graduation, Schwartz hopes to use her health kinesiology and leisure studies major to become a soccer coach, preferably high school or a club team similar to the one she played on.
Schwartz hopes to lead Baylor (9-3-2) to a victory against No. 9 Texas (11-1-2) at 7:00 p.m. Friday at Betty Lou Mays Field.