You know those people who just seem to have life all figured out? Well, the BYU women’s soccer team has one of those people on this year’s team and her name’s Carlee Payne Holmoe; senior soccer star, recently married to the man of her dreams, successful academic and athletic career, supportive parents, etc.
“All athletes know that you’re going to have on and off days but I think I’d like my teammates and everyone else to know me as the girl who’s going to work her butt off no matter what,” Holmoe said. “Even if we’re down 6-0 I’m going to work until that whistle blows. And I want that to be my legacy; to be known as someone who tries and works for her team, and never gives up.”
Carlee started playing soccer when she was 5 years old and hasn’t looked back since.
“My family used to live in San Jose so I started playing there with my mom as my coach for a few years and ever since then I’ve played,” Holmoe said. “I haven’t stopped. I played club soccer for Pleasanton Rage and in high school for Foothill High, and also ODP, which is the Olympic Development Program."
ODP soccer is the highest level of competition for a soccer player. From that pool of players, you get the U.S. national teams. Three summers ago Carlee was invited to play at three of their training camps.
She’s always been successful in whatever she chooses to do but says that her dedication developed over time and is, in part, due to her family’s support.
“When I first started playing soccer I was for sure that girl chasing butterflies on the field, but a couple years later I really learned to love the sport and started to excel,” Holmoe said. “At that point I wanted to play, and my parents weren’t just being parents and making me play.
“My family definitely influenced my love for the game because they were there for me at everything, showing their support. My parents were at every single game, my mom coached me some and they’re definitely my biggest support. Even now my parents attend every game they can – home and on the road.”
Growing up with such a supportive and athletic family is pretty lucky for any hopeful college athlete, but marrying into another supportive and athletic family is even luckier. This summer Carlee married Danny Holmoe, son of BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe, in Oakland, Calif.
“Danny and I met my freshman year at 7-Eleven very casually,” Holmoe said. “Jimmer (Fredette) actually introduced us. Then, about a year and a half later, we met again and started talking a little more after that. We hung out as friends a few times but nothing big until after last summer when I got back to Provo we hung out one night and then every day since. We dated for 10 months before we got engaged in March. He proposed, actually, on South Field after a candlelight dinner of my favorite meal.”
Perfect: a proposal on the team’s playing field.
As husband to BYU’s reigning soccer star, Danny says that during the season he plays all sorts of roles as a statistical aficionado, a therapist, a trainer, etc.
“My biggest role, obviously, is just to be supportive in all aspects of what Carlee does,” Danny said. “Sometimes she just needs to talk and sometimes I need to be more proactive in my support. This summer, for example, her coaches told her to take 50 extra shots on goal everyday so a couple of times each week the two of us would go out and I’d play goalie while she shot on goal.
“Another thing I do is get a bunch of info on her opponent for that week. I’ll be online looking at stats or the scouting report to tell her who to look out for or who’s good. I grew up in a football family where we always watched lots of film so I’m always asking her about what they’re watching on the other teams and trying to help because that’s just how I am; I’ve always followed all sports. That’s another big way I can be supportive so I actually know what I’m talking about and am really involved.”
Carlee has a huge support system in place, and her production on the field makes that obvious. In her first season at BYU, Carlee led the team in every category with 13 goals, 10 assists and 56 shots, and got herself on BYU’s all-time single season records list. Since then, she’s netted 11 more goals, dished out 18 more assists and taken 78 more shots to put her in 11th place for all-time career goals and fifth place for all-time career assists in the BYU record books.
Coming into her senior year, Carlee says she has more of a leadership role than in years past.
“It’s so important for me to be able to lead this team and help us be our best,” Holmoe said. “I want to be more dangerous this year on the attack by getting more shots and creating more opportunities for my teammates but mostly I just want to have fun; I want to end my career with no regrets and be able to work hard, and have our team end up successful.”
So what motivates a hard-working athlete like Carlee? She says her main motivation is her love for the sport but also the will to win and her desire to always play her best game.
“I’ve played a few games where I didn’t work as hard as I should and I remember, even if we won, the rest of the night and week I would be so mad at myself for not doing my best,” Holmoe said. “That feeling of regret is the worst. I’m hard on myself in a good way because it helps me to try all the time and that’s what makes me work hard.”
Her husband says that her motivation to be her best is part of her life off the field as well. She’s motivated in everything she does.
“If she’s going to do something she’s going to go for it 100 percent,” Danny said. “She’s not the type to just settle. If she wants to do something, she does it and she does it well. Whatever endeavor she has in front of her, she accomplishes, and I see that in everything she does. She’s committed to her family, school, and her relationships, and she’s always striving hard to do well with her education.”
When asked if her on-field motivation will continue past college and if she has a future playing soccer she simply responded, “We’ll see.”
So maybe it just seems like Carlee’s life has fallen into place perfectly, when in reality, she’s worked hard to get where she is today and kept a can-do attitude through it all.