SportsWomen's Soccer

Chardonnay Curran: From a small island to a big role

Oregon soccer’s Chardonnay Curran is from a town with a population of less than 15,000, but she has a big dream. She’s even pinned a tweet about it from 2015 to her Twitter profile.

Curran hopes to play for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team someday, but for now, her focus is on her first year at Oregon.

“Well I hope to go professionally, but right now, after experiencing [college soccer], wherever my body takes me I’m just following it,” Curran said.

The Ewa Beach, Hawaii native got to Oregon after she was spotted during one of assistant head coach Manny Martin’s recruiting trips in Hawaii. Now, as only a freshman, she has become instrumental to Oregon’s offense.

Curran scored her first career goal in Oregon’s 2-1 loss at No. 7 USC, where she gave the Ducks an early lead but the defending national champions fought back to win the game inside the final 10 minutes of action.

Playing in a central midfield role, Curran commands the tempo and is responsible for transitioning the play into the offensive third of the field. Head coach Kat Mertz says that her natural ability in the creative midfielder role, better known as the No. 10 role, is something the team has not had before in her five seasons at the helm.

As a starter, Curran comes into an attack that’s been run by juniors Marissa Everett and Kyra Fawcett, who have each spent a year as the team’s leading scorers and have combined for more than half of Oregon’s goals this season.

“I think [Curran] is a great player,” Everett said. “She has a lot of talent, and it’s always nice to have more depth on the team.”

Curran’s chemistry with her teammates hasn’t been easy, but she has sure made it look that way.

“It takes time to build those relationships with the freshmen, but also, she has to build those relationships with the other midfielders and I think that’s what we’ve been doing a good job with,” Mertz said. “And we’ve been seeing some nice combinations with the other midfielders.”

Mertz also wants to see Curran take on players and create more chances, which Curran says she loves to do. When she does run at defenders, they fall apart.

“It builds my confidence, but at the same time it makes me more happy when I assist people,” Curran said. “just giving the ball and seeing my teammates showing everyone what they’ve got is what makes me the happiest.”

But getting confident enough to take on players consistently will come as playing time continues to increase. Mertz says that Curran is an intense player who holds herself to a high standard.

Talents like Curran don’t come around often. She’s capable of cutting the ball and switching play one direction, while sending opposition defenders the other.

For Curran, the biggest change from her club days isn’t the level of competitiveness in college compared to those she played in Hawaii.

“Everybody talks about how hard it is, but just coming in here and having a tough team mentally is what I noticed the difference is,” Curran said. “Physically, you can get shut down but as long as your mentality is there, then you’ll be good.”

Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow

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Shawn Medow

Shawn Medow

Shawn is an associate sports editor and reporter for the Emerald covering football, men's basketball, women's basketball, acrobatics and tumbling, track and field/cross-country and softball. He also hosts several podcasts, including a soccer podcast, on the Emerald Podcast Network. You can contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @ShawnMedow.