Sept. 25, 2008
“Hard work is not an option, it’s a necessity,” Track’s Keyla Smith said at the 2008 Champions Beyond the Game Brunch. It was a statement that rang all too true for the former and current female student-athletes in attendance that morning because each and everyone of them has their own story, their own path of obstacles and challenges that have shaped who they are today. While Cindy Schofield, the Champions Beyond the Game 2008 honoree, had a storied Florida State career full of accolades and achievements, her journey has not been without challenges and heartache.
“Outside of the many, many memorable soccer moments that define me, my time at FSU built my character and shaped the person I am today,” Schofield said. “I went to Tallahassee thinking I was only going to play four years of soccer but I left with so much more than that. I learned what it means to work hard. I now know that hard work is the key to success in anything in life, but life doesn’t always come easy.”
In January of this year, Schofield was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor and was given less than two years to live. Several weeks and many tests later, she was re-diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her initial treatment included two rounds of chemotherapy and many others. She lost all feeling in her left arm and leg and because of her lack of mobility, she was confined to a wheelchair. After relearning how to function through therapy, she learned how to use a walker and then a cane and now she is determined to run again.
“Thank you to the Committee of Thirty for inviting me and my family to be a part of this event,” Schofield said at the start of her acceptance speech. “Even with my life struggles, this is the most meaningful award I’ve ever received. Being here on campus brings back so many wonderful memories. My years at FSU were the most memorable ones of my life.”
Schofield came to Florida State in 1999 from Lakeland as the all-time leading goal scorer in Florida high school history for women’s soccer. During her four-year rein as a forward for the Seminoles, she became the most prolific offensive player in Florida State University’s NCAA Tournament history having achieved the all-time record for goals, points, assists, shots and game-winning goals. During her inaugural season Schofield led all freshmen in goals and points and tied for first among freshmen in game appearances with 18. Her determination and hard work continued and in 2001 she was at the peak of her college career having scored 17 goals and achieving records and awards that no other FSU player had ever won.
Schofield became the single most recognized athlete in program history and put a face on a team that was in the middle of rising to national prominence. She was named a first-team All-ACC selection and was also named an honorable mention All-American. After having received her Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management and her Master’s degree in Sport Administration in 2003, she continued her career in soccer as a coach with the HC United Youth Soccer Club, youth recreational programs and numerous soccer camps. In 2005, Schofield became a staff coach for the Olympic Development Program for the Florida Youth Soccer Association and is currently the assistant Varsity Girls Soccer Coach for the Tampa Preparatory School which became the 2008 Florida High School 2A State Champions.
While Schofield seemed on top of the world while at FSU, there were times she had to endure great adversity. Prior to her senior year, Schofield’s fiancé was killed in a sky diving accident.
“At the time, I thought my world was caving in but with the support of my teammates and my FSU family I returned to Tallahassee and went on to have a successful senior season,” Schofield said.
It was upon completing her graduate work that Schofield realized that she wanted to make a difference in the life of others, especially kids, so she combined that with her love of soccer and is now coaching at the youth level.
“Every day I go to work, I have the opportunity to make an impact on young girls’ lives,” Schofield said. “I can show them what determination, hard work and heart can do for them by passing on the values that were instilled in me at Florida State. It was a remarkable five years of my life and I am extremely proud to be part of the Seminole family.”
After Schofield told her story, she made a plea to the current student-athletes.
“To the student-athletes in the room, I encourage you to work hard on and off the field,” Schofield said. “Appreciate the support you have and most importantly, enjoy your experience here because it will go by fast. I would like to thank the former athletes for paving the way and for your contribution to Florida State athletics.”
The 2008-09 athletic season represents 40 years of women’s athletics at Florida State University and this year’s brunch also recognized the female student-athletes from that era. Former student-athletes Ava Rich (1968 volleyball), Alicia Crew (1969 swimming), Kathleen Geraghty (1968 tennis) and Margo Starnes Adams, (1970 track) spoke as representatives of their respective teams. The common theme of their speeches was clear … they were Florida State athletes because they loved to compete and they loved the camaraderie. It wasn’t about what they got but what they gave. They didn’t get scholarships, they didn’t get uniforms, they rarely got meal money but what they did gain was an appreciation for the opportunity and the true value of determination, dedication and hard work.
“What was it like to be a Racquette in the late ‘60’s?” Geraghty asked. “It was a transition period from club to varsity sports. There was no recruiting. You indicated if you played a sport on your college application. There were no scholarships. Coach Langford kept us informed about job openings on campus or nearby businesses. No training table, we paid for all of our meals and we ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly. No athletic trainers, we took care of our own injuries. We went to the first aid kit or went to the infirmary if it was a major problem. We did our own stretching routine before and after practice and went running on our own. No study hall or tutors. Coach Langford monitored our grades very closely. No fancy hotels or motels. When we traveled, we usually had five to six players to a room or stayed in college dorms.
“To sum it up, we loved being a Racquette. We loved our teammates and thought the world of our coaches and we were very thankful for all they did for us. We were proud to represent Florida State University and have fond memories of our playing days.”
Champions Beyond The Game
Charlotte West, Class of 1954. F Club, Leading organizer of CIAW and AIAW, Foremother of Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics.
Janet Stoner, Class of 1970. Swimmer and President of Tarpon Club, Vice President and Executive Council member of Texaco, Inc..
General Norma Elaine Brown, Class of 1949. F Club, First woman General in the U.S. Air Force.
Amy Lynn Snider, Class of 1980. Softball captain, Attorney and President of General Insurance Concepts.
Barbara Harris, Class of 1978. Volleyball, Executive Vice President, Editorial Director, “Active Life Style”, Weider Publications.
Kim Batten, Class of 1991. Collegiate hurdler and winner of 100 and 400-meter events, Olympic Silver Medalist.
Elaine Gavigan, Class of 1948. Emblem Wearer, Brought class action suit to permit athletic scholarships for women.
Nada C. Usina, Class of 1993. Captain of Swim Team, General Manager of Entertainment and Sales for Nokia.
Roberta Boyce-Stokes, Class of 1961. F Club, Author, Winning Volleyball Coach, Civic Leader.
Colleen Buckley Callahan, Class of 1979. Softball, U.S. Secret Service, Assistant Director of Flight Operations for the Federal Air Marshall.
Dr. Jo Anne Whitaker, Class of 1948. Golf, Former F Club President, President and Director of Research for the Bowen Research and Training Institute.
Celia Slater, Class of 1985. Basketball, Executive Director of the WinStar Foundation, & Special Projects Coordinator for the NACWAA.
Katherine Blood Hoffman, Class of 1936. Baseball & Volleyball teams, F Club, Mortar Board, Esteren, Phi Beta Kappa, and President of the student body. Professor and Dean of Women at Florida State University.
Alice Bennett Sims, Class of 1983. Track, Analyst for the Governor’s Committee On Policy and Budget & Coaches track at North Florida Christian.
Paula D. Welch, Class of1963. President of F Club and the Physical Education Association. Treasurer and Trustee of the United States Olympic Foundation.
Colleen Walker, Class of1978. Golf, Most Valuable Player Honors. Retired ranking 44th in all time LPGA Career Earnings.
Mollie Carroll Cardamone, Class of 1958. Tarpon Club, F Club, Garnet Key and Mortified. Former Mayor of the City of Sarasota.
Jaime Kaplan, #1 on the FSU Tennis Team 1981 – 1983. Played in 14 Grand Slam Championships, five Wimbledons, four US Opens, four French Opens and one Australian Open.