Sept. 26, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Kaleigh Olmsted knows how to keep busy. A starting forward on the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team, the senior is a first-time Irish captain this season and is managing her athletic responsibilities with two majors. With 54 starts in 71 career games, Olmsted has been a major contributor for the Irish since her freshman season, tallying 10 career goals and 35 points (as of September 25, 2016). She scored her first goal of the season Sunday in Notre Dame’s 4-0 win over Pittsburgh and led the Irish in scoring with three points against the Panthers. Last week, she took time to sit down for this edition of “Ten Questions.”
TEN QUESTIONS WITH KALEIGH.OLMSTED
1. What has being a captain meant to you so far this season?
I don’t want to say it doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it doesn’t feel any different than the spring or last season. You still go out and play to the best of your ability. I guess I feel like I have a little bit more responsibility and I have to be more conscientious of my teammates around me more actively. When things go wrong or when things don’t go the way you want them to, I kind of feel a responsibility in how it went or how we need to solve those problems.
2. Has that changed the way you approach your day-to-day?
I used to show up to practice just thinking, `OK, I’m here to practice,’ and that was it. Now before practice I kind of think about what I could have done better in a game, or a lot of times it’s about how I can improve my communication and get the most out of whoever is on the field. That’s really hard to do because you have to really know the players around you. I’ve been telling myself a lot lately before practice to focus on one little thing, like if there’s one particular person I need to focus on that day and build a better relationship with them, then I focus on that person. Or if I need to improve my touch, then I need to focus on me that day. I think I go in with more of a plan for practice on one thing I can do that’s within my ability to change.
3. What’s your funniest soccer memory?
I think one of the best ones — and I don’t know why — I was on the bench and I can’t remember who we were playing, but someone kicked a really, really hard ball at someone and somehow they made a phenomenal touch out of it after we were expecting an explosion possibly that was going to be so horrific. As soon as they brought it down, everyone was like `Oh,’ and then it was quiet and (senior teammate) Cindy (Pineda) yelled out from the sideline, “Skill check!” That was just really funny, that dumb stuff that I don’t know why I remember, but I remember those moments.
4. What has been your favorite Notre Dame moment?
My favorite moment is probably when (junior teammate) Katie Uhler introduced me to Tony, who’s my current boyfriend. … Every time we talk about it, she always says, `I get credit for that!’ and stuff like that, but whenever we retell the story it just makes me really happy and makes me smile every time. It’s not just thinking about my boyfriend, that’s not what it’s about, but I just feel like my teammates always have a hand in every single part of my life, and it led to a good outcome.
5. You’re a double-major in pre-med and art. What attracted you to two completely different paths of study?
I’ve always done art throughout high school and it’s always been a hobby. It’s never been anything that I ever considered pursuing. Then college came along and I knew I liked art and I sketched, but it’s not a big deal and I didn’t really have time for it. Then, I don’t remember why I decided to take and art class — I think I needed to fill a fine arts credit — and I thought, “Well, I really like art and I’m fairly good at it. Maybe I’ll do a minor.’ It was only five classes, so I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. Then I, like the total psycho that I am, just wanted to see if I could do an art major, how it would work out, so I planned out the next seven years of my life, how it looks like. It turns out that it’s only 12 classes and I could fit it into my schedule, so I figured there’s no other time to take an art class from people who know what they’re doing and I’m not going to have the opportunity to do any sort of art for the next five or six years of my life while going to medical school, so now’s the time to do it. And my sister had her graduation and she was a double major and she walked on stage and they announced `Anthropology AND Chemistry’ and my competitive side in me was like, `I need the `and” just to compete with her because she’s a surreal human being.
6. What would you like to do with your medical degree?
I think when I get to medical school there’s going to be a bunch of different areas and fields that I’ll find interesting and might want to pursue, but if I had to pick right now, then I would choose OB/GYN. I shadowed Dr. Byrne, who is Rory Byrne’s mom, from the women’s lacrosse team. It was a really good experience and I found it to be a really fulfilling career. Something about the relationship you make with your patients, it’s on a different level and it’s a long-term relationship. And babies are cute.
7. Who’s your goofiest teammate?
We have a lot of really goofy people. I think the person I goof around the most with and we have a similar humor is (Meghan) Doyle. I’m not sure if she’s the goofiest, but we are the goofiest together.
8. Who’s your most serious teammate?
Depends on what situation you’re talking about. If it’s soccer, it would be Monica (Flores), probably, or Gilly (Ginny McGowan). She’s really serious in soccer.
9. If you could change any soccer rule, what would it be?
I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ve changed anything. I’m in no position to change a rule in soccer, is I guess what I’m thinking, so I wouldn’t change anything.
10. Which animal are you the most like?
I don’t know. You could really go with a cute and humble answer or your could be super aggressive and go for a wolf or something, but I think I’m going to venture on the route of a little baby bird. Doyle and I were talking about this the other day. She had a dream that she was a baby bird and I feel like I could be a baby bird. I’m just really needy sometimes (laughs). I just think about when you were younger and everything was easier and I think a baby bird would just have an easy life. They just get their food brought to them and you’re just hanging out chirping with your friends.