By Lindsay Cash
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Being recruited by a top tier soccer program sounds glamorous to most - but committing during a team's building years takes an uncommon kind of drive.
That's exactly what Baylor junior defender Carlie Davis did when she met Coach Marci Jobson.
Davis, described by her teammates as selfless, heard of Jobson's plans to turn Baylor's program around and wholeheartedly committed as a junior in high school.
"There were lots of girls competing for positions, and it was an aggressive environment," Davis said. "I was excited to fight for a spot, and excited Baylor had so many new athletes to build the program."
Little did Davis know that the fight to secure playing time as a freshman would soon propel her to the top of the roster.
To begin her freshman year, Davis quickly learned that her role as a teammate would unfold on the sidelines.
"I really learned how to be a good teammate that first year," Davis said. "I found that it's more fulfilling to be a part of successful team than be individually successful."
There's the selfless attitude.
"She grew so much mentally throughout her first year," Jobson said. "Carlie's a perfect example of persevering through difficult times that ended up making her stronger. She's proof that through struggling, you can become a captain."
Davis believes the positivity she built throughout her freshman year was in perfect stride with the development of her spiritual depth.
"When Carlie relied on her faith to strengthen her, it gave her the confidence she needed," Jobson said. "I definitely attribute her spirituality to helping her grow into an unbelievable leader."
After solidifying spiritually, her physical ability followed suit; the inner competitor in Davis became the backbone of the squad. Last season, Davis anchored a defense that tied Baylor's program record for most shutouts in a season with 11.
Jobson's faith in Davis is apparent in every game. Davis is always matched up against the opposing team's go-to girl.
"I put Carlie on the other team's best player," Jobson said. "The other girl can have a ton of accolades and awards, and Carlie will rise to the challenge. She embraces it, doesn't give up, and goes to shut the girl down."
Junior midfielder Hanna Gilmore, who has known Davis since high school, sees the same fire in Davis that Jobson sees.
"Carlie's just an encourager, and it's apparent on the field," Gilmore said. "She doesn't just encourage us with her words; it's there through her actions."
From each end of the field, Gilmore and Davis fulfill their duties as players. However, Davis' moves are constantly fueling and supporting each one of her teammates.
"I watch Carlie go hard against anybody," Gilmore said. "No matter how nervous or confident she may be, you know Carlie's gonna play the same. I see how hard she's working for all of us, and I never want to let her down."
Sophomore midfielder Karlee Summey feels the same way.
"She's our spiritual leader for sure," Summey said. "She's someone that anyone on the entire team can go to. But Carlie is feisty. She's got that competitive vibe that flows throughout the entire team," Summey said.
For Baylor soccer, Davis has an irreplaceable field presence, but to limit the demand for Carlie Davis to soccer would be a horrible mistake.
"She's got it together in so many areas," Jobson said. "She's a top-level student with great grades. She's compassionate and caring to her friends and teammates. Academically, athletically, socially and spiritually, Carlie Davis represents Baylor all around."
As an International Studies major, Davis is an Academic All-Big 12 first team honoree and is a member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll. Davis would love to work internationally with a non-profit organization after college. She got a glimpse of that lifestyle this summer with her team .
"Before the season started, I went with some teammates to Kenya to do sports ministry specifically through soccer," Davis said. "It was so neat to see my teammates love and serve together in such a close-knit community.".
The girls spent their time building homes and putting on various soccer clinics for people throughout the inner cities.
"My favorite part of the trip was going to a men's prison for a soccer clinic. It was incredible seeing my team in action playing their hearts out in Kenya with men from prison. There are so many girls on my team with faith as their motivation and source of strength and passion for why they play soccer. That's the most encouraging thing to be around," Davis said.
And her teammates feel the exact same way about her.
"She always gives attention to everyone; always makes people feel good," Gilmore said. "I admire her so much. I've seen the Godly woman she's developed into. There aren't many people like Carlie Davis."