Hasenauer Has Big Goals For 2022 And Beyond
Even dreams have limitations, when the dreamer doesn't know the heights her ambitions can reach.
When Zoe Hasenauer was a kid growing up in Southern California, playing collegiately seemed like the pinnacle for a young women's soccer player. Even the notion of earning a scholarship was cloudy, at best.
Fast forward just a few years, though, and women of Hasenauer's generation can see a path that keeps them on the pitch well beyond their time in college. And Hasenauer is working to ensure that the next generation of young girls can dream big dreams from an early age.
At some point in the coming weeks, Hasenauer is likely to become the all-time leader in career assists for the Oregon soccer program – the next chance to improve on her current total of 17 is Friday, when the Ducks host No. 15 Washington to open Pac-12 play this fall. Having played in every match the last five seasons, if she stays healthy she'll find her name at the top of Oregon's career games played and games started lists.
Not long after that, Hasenauer should have the chance to join two former UO teammates playing professionally, in the National Women's Soccer League.
And between now and then, Hasenauer will continue work she started earlier this year as a mentor to girls in her native Southern California. Girls who, as Hasenauer once did, intend to play in college and beyond. Girls who, in Hasenauer, have a mentor they can contact directly for counsel and advice.
Earlier this year Hasenauer was connected with a handful of girls between the ages of 10 and 14 who are interested in developing as soccer players. Primarily through apps and video conferencing, Hasenauer is available to provide them everything from drills they can use to enhance their games, to insight into what the college recruiting process looks like.
"It's just gonna make the game better and better as it goes on," she said. "So it's exciting."
Unlike just a few years ago, this younger generation has ample opportunities to watch women's soccer, through video streaming and social media. If an NWSL match is being played somewhere in the country, there's probably a way to watch it, and learn from it.
"They'll be like, I'm trying to do this move that I saw Megan Rapinoe do," Hasenauer said. "And it's awesome. Because I didn't have that growing up."
Also exciting is the continued presence of two former UO teammates in the professional ranks. This past Sunday, Marissa Everett of the Portland Thorns and Chardonnay Curran of the Kansas City Current faced off in an NWSL match. The game was a rematch of one played over the summer in Portland, which Hasenauer attended with the rest of the Oregon team.
When she was growing up in California, Hasenauer would attend local college games. That seemed like the apex of achievement for a women's soccer player. Now she sees women she has played with participating as professionals.
"Seeing them do it has definitely made me more confident in my ability to do it," Hasenauer said.
First though, Hasenauer is taking one more crack at helping Oregon reach the postseason. The Ducks have never participated in an NCAA Tournament, but they hope to change that as early as this fall.
To enhance their resume, Oregon coaches constructed a challenging nonconference schedule. Then, a rash of injuries threw the Ducks off track. But after a win at Hofstra and a tie at Portland to wrap up nonconference play, the UO women enter Pac-12 play with some momentum.
"We're able to get some consistency now," head coach Graeme Abel said of his lineup. "So you're starting to see that a little bit more on the field."
The Ducks went 2-2-4 in nonconference play. That's only two defeats, but they came in back-to-back games, during a six-match stretch in which Oregon lost a player to injury in each game. The second loss was a 4-1 decision with Santa Clara at home, which left the UO women deflated.
"We had to take a look in the mirror," Hasenauer said. "That was a tough couple of weeks."
Frank talk filled the UO locker room after the loss to Santa Clara. The Ducks knew they were in a hole. But veterans like Hasenauer also knew from experience how quickly a season can change.
"We just told everyone," Hasenauer said, "this has to be a turning point."
The results at Hofstra and Portland were encouraging. The Pac-12 slate will be tough, but it also will provide ample opportunities for the Ducks to enhance their case for NCAA Tournament consideration come November.
At one point in her life, Hasenauer figured the late stages of her senior season in college might be the end of her playing career. Now she knows different – and she's making sure the next generation does as well.