CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Each Tuesday through the women’s soccer season, Charlotte49ers.com has featured alumnae of the program in celebration of the program’s 20th campaign in 2013. Former players were selected at random for the Q&A and the plan to include all eras of the program, dating back to its inception in 1994, was accomplished.
This week’s edition, the final for this fall, features Meredith (Mayo) Smith (1997-2000). Mayo (Smith), a Collierville, Tenn., native, played her first two seasons for Robbie Church and then last two years for Neil Roberts. She was a part of the school’s first NCAA Tournament squad in 1998, Conference USA Tournament title-winning team in 1998 and the tri-regular season championship program in 1997.
She started 58 of the 88 matches in which she played, netting 27 goals and chipping in 29 assists for 83 points. Six of her scores were game winners, while she recorded 155 shots during her three-year career.
She was honored as a three-time All-Conference USA performer, including garnering first-team accolades as a junior in 1999. She collected a pair of Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week plaudits during her career and was selected to the 1997 UNC Charlotte Puma Classic all-tournament squad.
Her 88 games played are a school record, while she ranks fifth in career assists, tied for sixth in career points, tied for seventh in career goals and ninth in shots. Her career-best 12 assists as a junior place her in a tie for fifth on the program’s single-season chart. She also tallied a hat trick at UNC Greensboro Sept. 4, 1999, making her one of 10 players in school history to accomplish the feat.
1. What factors led to your decision to attend Charlotte?
The only thing I knew when the college recruiting process started was I wanted to go somewhere I could grow as a player and a person. After a few visits to other places, I wasn’t sure that I had found that place and coach I felt were a good fit. It wasn't until I got the call from Robbie Church that Charlotte piqued my interests. I set up my official visit and after that weekend, I was 100 percent positive Charlotte would be the place for me. The city was up and coming, the campus was the perfect size, the soccer facilities were top notch, the coaching staff was like family and it felt like my home away from home.
2. How did you see yourself grow as a soccer player and as a person during your collegiate career?
Going away for college was the best thing I could have done. It forced me out of my comfort zone, leaving all your family and friends can be scary, but luckily you walk into a new family...your teammates. There is no question that my four years playing soccer at Charlotte were some of the toughest and greatest times of my life. Through those times I learned to overcome change. I gained independence and confidence that has made me the person I am today.
3. What are some of your fondest memories of playing soccer with the 49ers?
-- I will always remember my first collegiate goal was actually scored with my hand.
-- I remember my hat trick against our big rival at the time, UNC Greensboro
-- Winning the C-USA championship (1998)
-- Playing UNC in the NCAA 2nd round
-- The many great times with my teammates.
There were also some not so fond memories....PRESEASON; no matter how great of shape I thought I was in, it was never enough to be prepared for the three-a-days, beep test, Cooper test, 120s and the soreness after about the third day.
4. How often do you play soccer these days?
Does kicking a soccer ball with my kids count? That is about all the soccer I get to play these days.
5. Where are you currently living (city, state)?
Thompson’s Station, Tenn.
6. What is your current occupation?
Raising a family and enjoying life
7. Do you have any family (husband/kids/pets)?
Married for 10 years to David with three kids: Hayden 7, Emerson 3, Griffin 10 months.
8. What advice would you offer to a current 49ers women’s soccer player?
Step out of you comfort zone and give everything your all, whether it's academics, soccer or friendships. I would also recommend studying abroad.
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.