The age-old adage that soccer is a game of runs has been true all season long for sophomore midfielder Tori Hale.
Hale is a transfer student from Texas Christian University who arrived at Texas State on Aug. 1, just nine days before the team’s first exhibition match against Texas. Hale had to weigh her options about leaving Fort Worth after TCU went through a coaching staff change.
“The situation we had last semester with TCU made it kind of where I had to go somewhere else or not play this season,” Hale said. “It was pretty easy to decide because (Texas State) was closer than the other places I was looking, and I didn’t really want to go play soccer somewhere up in like Montana or Oklahoma.”
The Abilene native is leading the team with total points accumulated this season with 14. It took a small-town connection to get Hale to Texas State, which Assistant Coach Link Scoggins can take credit for. He knew Hale from his coaching days for the Abilene Soccer Club in 2007. When he found out she was looking to go elsewhere to resume her collegiate career, Scoggins said he could not pass the golden opportunity up.
“I had previous knowledge of Tori before she played at TCU, and I knew she was a great player,” Scoggins said. “She is very physical, very energetic. She even showed it to us when we played TCU here last fall, and when we saw her in the spring again at TCU she lit us up there as well, scoring two goals that day.”
Scoggins was on the recruiting trail when he discovered that Hale was trying to find a new home to play soccer.
“We heard of her situation when we were out recruiting one day, and the first thing I told Coach (Kat) Conner was that number 19 from TCU is free, and we knew her a little bit,” Scoggins said. “So, we tried to get her in here, and luckily she liked us a lot and chose Texas State as her next choice.”
At TCU, Hale said she had to create opportunities for herself on the field in the Horned Frogs system.
“We try to get her in front of that goal and help her understand our system,” Conner said. “We want to build the play in and around her to get her looking at goal. She’s not quite used to that. I think she’s had to do it all on her own.”
Hale has found her stride and is excelling in Coach Conner’s system, but she was skeptical about how she would fit in and find her niche.
“The playing style is a lot different from where I was before,” Hale said. “At first, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, but now it is suiting me well and is definitely the best system I’ve ever played in before. Since I have gotten used to everything, it has been a very good transition for me.”
Hale has gathered four goals and six assists in her first season as a Bobcat. She and Lynsey Curry, another fresh face to the program, have made a formidable duo up top and have accounted for 44 percent of the team’s goals this season.
“Her work ethic is awesome, so much so she wants to do the work of everyone else’s on the field,” Conner said. “She is starting to trust her teammates more and understands what her job is. She is so dynamic and such a fantastic attacker that teams have to worry about her. The more she understands the more fantastic and amazing she will be.”
Hale’s coaches rave about her and the work ethic she presents to the team. She loves to make runs and attack the goal with a relentless motor. One thing is for sure: she won’t stop running anytime soon.
Conner summed it up when she told Hale she doesn’t have to make runs all the time. Hale responded, “Coach, I get nervous when I just stand, so I run.”