Women’s soccer goalkeeper Kayla Thompson ’21 earned back-to-back shut-out victories last week in games against the University of Hartford Thursday and Providence College Sunday.
Thompson arrived at Brown this season after playing at West Virginia University for two years, where the Mountaineers reached the NCAA playoffs in 2017 and 2018. In her three weeks at Brown, Thompson has faced 21 shots and has been twice named Brown Athletics Athlete of the Week. Not one goal has been scored against the Bears since she first took the field.
Due to her impressive goalkeeping against Hartford and Providence, Thompson has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.
Herald: Congratulations on your successful start to the season and welcome to College Hill! What were your deciding factors in transferring to Brown?
Thompson: When I committed to West Virginia at 16 years old, it was purely a soccer decision. (Once I came to West Virginia) I didn’t play very much, and I started to reevaluate what I wanted out of my college experience. The big things for me were finding a place with more diversity, finding a place where I was challenged in school more and where I could find something that I like to study. I always wanted to study neuroscience, but (West Virginia) didn’t offer it. … Now, soccer is a bonus. I really wanted to prioritize my life outside of soccer. A coach from high school knew (Head Coach Kia McNeill), and I saw that the program here was exactly what I wanted.
What does the typical day of a cognitive neuroscience concentrator on a varsity team look like?
I am just beginning to dip my toes in the open curriculum. I’m only taking two concentration requirements so I could get a taste of the super cool classes. … I’m taking Love Stories and The Craving Mind. … The rest of my time is dedicated to soccer. In preseason we’ve been playing (games) almost every four days .… We play, we have a recovery day with film, then we’re back training for the next team.
What is something most people don’t realize about being a goalkeeper?
We as goalkeepers do a lot of behind the scenes work. I’m super lucky because the other two goalkeepers I work with, (Morgan Turcotte ’23) and (Maria Guerrero Martinez ’21) are super hard workers, pushing me every day. We come out early to work on distribution. We have to get our extra stuff in before regular team practice. There’s an extra push we have to put into training to be sure we’re ready for games.
The women’s soccer team is currently undefeated — how is the team keeping the streak alive?
When we make a substitution, there’s not a drop in level. Everybody who comes on actually steps up the level. We have a lot of subs who come on and score. In practice, it’s so competitive. One thing our coaches always say is ‘iron sharpens iron’ because we’re not going to face stronger competition than what we do in practice.
Which away game destination are you most looking forward to?
Texas A&M University was my favorite (game we’ve already played), I looked forward to that game all summer. My family is in Austin so my whole family came out, and it was really fun to play in front of them. But I have some friends at Harvard, and I hear there’s a little bit of a battle between Brown and Harvard, so I’m excited to go there. It will be fun to beat them in their own place.
If a fan could only make it to one game this season, which match-up is not to be missed?
Our first Ivy League game on Sept. 28. We open against Dartmouth at home. Between Ivy Leagues, every game is really, really, competitive, so it could go either way.
The Bears next take to the field Sunday on the road against Villanova University.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.