Team Player: Cara Walls x’15

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Photo: Jeff Miller

 

Cara Walls x’15 isn’t sure whether she chose soccer or soccer chose her.

From the time she entered organized competition, Walls simply had a knack for the sport. “When I started playing — and this is going to sound bad — it was just very easy for me to score goals,” she says.

That much hasn’t changed for the senior forward. With twenty-eight goals over three years at Wisconsin, Walls credits her unique combination of aggressiveness and late-game composure for making her the Badgers’ go-to scorer. “I always like to attack,” she says. “My mindset is to go forward and go at people whenever I get the ball.”

Last season, Walls led Wisconsin in goals — nine total, including four game-winning scores — for the third consecutive year. In 2012, she was selected to the second-team All-Big Ten; she made the Big Ten All-Freshmen team in 2011.

Walls credits some of her success to growing up with a valuable resource: her older brother, Tony. After years of practicing with her in their Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, backyard, he starred at UW-Green Bay before latching on as a defender with Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire in 2012 and Major Indoor Soccer League’s Milwaukee Wave this season.

And here’s the real kicker: Walls says she could hold her own against her brother, even though he’s a professional, adding that she loves to kid him about that.

After roaring out to an 8–2–2 start last season, the women’s soccer team dropped five of its last seven games, failing to advance to the NCAA tournament. Walls, citing fatigue as a possible culprit, says the team is working to avoid a similar fate this fall. With a brief taste of the tournament her sophomore season, she is determined to help her team qualify again in her final go-round.

“As a senior, I want to leave the program better than when I came here,” says Walls, who is majoring in environmental and international studies. “I want to come in and make an impact — hopefully not only making the [NCAA] tournament, but making it farther than we ever have.”

Published in the Summer 2014 issue

Tags: Athletics, soccer, Students

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