Where Are They Now: Caroline Smith

Dec. 5, 2006

Throughout this off-season, kuathletics.com will periodically check in with former Jayhawks and see what they have been up to since their days in the Crimson and Blue. Today, we profile Caroline Smith, who played at KU from 2002-2005.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

One of the most prolific goal scorers in Big 12 history, Smith holds school records in nearly every offensive category. She finished her career as KU’s all-time leader in points, goals, assists, game-winning goals and shots. During her years in the Crimson and Blue, she earned All-America accolades twice, named Academic All-America twice, was a four-time All-Central Region selection and a three-time All-Big 12 First Team pick.

Not only was Smith one of the most decorated players in KU history, the teams she played on were some of the most successful. During her four seasons with the Jayhawks, the team posted a 58-25-4 record and made consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 2003 and 2004.

Where are you living and working now?

CS: I live in Minneapolis and am going to medical school at the University of Minnesota.

How has your academic experience and/or your degree from KU assisted you in your chosen career?

CS: I had a wonderful academic background coming into medical school. My biology professors especially pushed me hard in undergrad and helped me to better understand and perform in med school.

Being that you’re from Minnesota, what made you decide to come to Kansas and not stay closer to home?

CS: It was the best visit I took. Coach Francis and the players were awesome. Everything was perfect. I knew when I came home after that visit that Kansas was where I was going to end up.

What is one thing you miss most about being a student-athlete?

CS: Having so many people around you wanting to succeed and representing the University on the playing field. I miss watching my fellow athletes succeed in their respective sports, all with the same goal of being as good as they can be.

What was the best thing about being a Jayhawk?

CS: Putting on the KU jersey for every match. There is a certain amount of pride that goes along with wearing Kansas on your chest. To be a part of such a great University was amazing.

From the time you arrived on campus to now, what do you think the biggest difference is in the KU soccer program?

CS: A lot of things changed when we got the new weight room. Our conditioning got better and our ability to do more in the off-season helped out a lot. We got a new athletic trainer (John Zirkelback) and a new strength coach (Molly McKinnon) who are both extremely good. I think the biggest change in players is that when I first got there, the talent wasn’t as good but the desire to win and be successful was. The players were tougher and knew how to get the job done. They maybe weren’t technically where they wanted to be, but they made up for it in heart and determination.

Name one lesson that playing soccer at KU has taught you.

CS: It has taught me to follow your dreams no matter what anyone else thinks. If you put in the effort and aim to be the best, you will rarely be disappointed in yourself.

What is your lasting memory of playing soccer at KU?

CS: Winning the Big 12 Championship my junior year.

What advice would you give to the current team?

CS: Your window of opportunity to play at this level is so small. Take every opportunity you get. You only have a limited amount of time to go out and put on the jersey and play the sport you love. Never let things get in the way of your goals, because you don’t get second chances. You have four years to play and then you are done. If you take your chances and put your heart into it, you won’t leave with any regrets.