TAMPA — Fourteen years ago, Lakeland resident Bob Schofield and his wife, Linda, went to Tallahassee to watch their daughter, Cindy, play in one of her first soccer matches at Florida State University. The Schofields watched a pair of games and then took in the Saturday football game – a game that just so happened to fall on Hall of Fame week – and the ceremony led to a quick flash in Bob Schofield’s mind.
Wouldn’t it be great if we were here for Cindy one day?
That day has come as Cindy Schofield, the leading prep scorer in Florida high school history and the holder of 31 FSU school records, including all-time goals (40), assists (22) and total points (102), will be honored on the field prior to the Seminoles’ home opener against Nevada.
Schofield, a standout at Lakeland Jenkins where she set the state scoring mark with 238 career goals, including a single-season record of 70, has been the girls soccer coach at Tampa Prep for four seasons. Earlier this summer, Schofield was inducted into the Polk County Athletics Hall of Fame.
The Terrapins coach said the FSU induction, which was announced in March, has just now started to sink in.
“I had no idea this would ever happen,” Schofield said. “It’s just now hitting me, when you look at the people in the Hall of Fame, Derrick Brooks, Burt Reynolds, I just have to pinch myself thinking I’m going to be with that group. It’s an incredible feeling.”
When Schofield arrived, the Seminoles women’s soccer program was just three years old and she said her biggest accomplishments weren’t her individual accolades, but helping to bring the program from its infancy to a prominent standing in the NCAA ranks.
“We built the program, before my class they didn’t have a stadium – we played on intramural fields,” Schofield said. “We came in and got killed my first year. North Carolina beat us 9-0 that first year.”
“We had to change the mentality and it took a lot of hard work, but I knew we could build it into what it is today.”
Florida State finished 20-4 last season losing in the NCAA Tournament semifinals. The Seminoles (5-0-2) are currently ranked No. 4 in the nation.
Schofield said she was introduced to soccer attending her older brother’s youth matches “in a stroller” and her father said she was a natural competing at a high level against boys as there was not a strong girls youth program at the time. Bob said his daughter never looked at herself as a girl playing with boys, but as an athlete competing against other athletes and having an unquenchable competitive streak.
“Boys, they say, mature physically faster and earlier and playing with them gave her the ability to compete at a higher level,” Bob said. “She was smart, she just knew, ‘I know where the goal is,’ and she made a couple of moves and then the ball was in the net.”
“She was so competitive and she just couldn’t stand to lose. Parents or coaches from the other teams would yell, ‘Don’t let that girl score, don’t let that girl beat you,’ and she would score and I think that was her mentality. She didn’t care. She was going to put the ball in the net so you better get out of her way.”
Joining Schofield in today’s FSU Hall of Fame induction class are Matt Diaz (baseball), JoAnne Graf (softball coach), Sebastian Janikowski (football), Jamal Reynolds (football) and Sammie Smith (football). The five inductees as well as Moore Stone Award Winner, Douglas Mannheimer were honored at a banquet last night.