Despite all her individual accolades and accomplishments on the Razorback soccer team, a sophomore forward has shown she plays for everyone but herself.
Coach Colby Hale has referred, time and again, to Stefani Doyle as like another senior on the team because of her maturity, character and the way she interacts with her teammates.
“I try to take on a leadership role,” Doyle said. “I like using my positive mentality (toward my teammates) on and off the field, and I try to use that to the best of my ability.”
Last year, Doyle was a standout freshman for the Hogs, recording six goals, three assists and 15 points. She was honored at the end of the season with selections to the Southeastern Conference All-Conference Freshman Team and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-South Region Third Team. She was also ranked No. 14 on Top Drawer Soccer’s Women’s Freshman Top 100 list. Doyle said these individual accomplishments are not the largest priority for her.
“I would say team success is more important than individual success,” Doyle said. “The team is what’s going to make you win, and that’s what soccer is all about. (My teammates) are the ones that helped me earn those awards. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
This season, Doyle has found the back of the net only three times but her unselfishness has shown again by being the current team leader in assists with five, along with freshman midfielder Nayeli Perez.
“Stefani is one of those players that will do whatever it takes to help the team win,” Hale said. “She’s not worried about having a lot of goals or being the star player. She’s one of the biggest team players we have, and that has been great for our locker room.”
Because of her team-first mentality, the early season losses have hit her hard. Doyle said the fact that the Hogs already have as many losses this year as they did all last year has not been fun for her.
“I’ve definitely taken the losses hard,” Doyle said. “It’s pretty disappointing, but we just need to keep grinding and keep the right mentality. There’s still half a season left where we can turn it around.”
During her years attending Hebron High School in Lewisville, Texas, Doyle was one of 24 players in the country invited to attend the 2015 and 2016 U.S. soccer national camps, an honor that she said was an amazing learning experience.
“I learned so much about soccer and myself,” Doyle said. “Playing with and against some of the best girls in the world, I was so lucky to be around them. I got to go to New Zealand and that was a great way to look at the world and learn from how others play, playing in another country is something I’ve never done before so that was an amazing experience.”
Unfortunately, her high school years also brought Doyle heavy obstacles to overcome.
“I had some family problems, but I got through them and that really motivated me to continue being successful in soccer.” Doyle said.
Doyle did just that and earned a four-star rating by Top Drawer Soccer and was the No. 63-ranked player in the U.S., leading to her being recruited by many universities.
“Choosing my school was a hard decision for me to make, but I’m very glad I chose Arkansas,” Doyle said.
Looking forward, Doyle said she it’s clear to her what she wants to have accomplished by the time her graduation rolls around.
“Afterwards, thinking about going pro is definitely a possibility and a personal goal for me,” Doyle said. “But more importantly while I’m here, I hope to win an SEC Championship with our team and make it to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament.”