Keeping a collective group cohesive means chemistry and comaraderie are without a doubt evident.
For the women of Orange Coast College’s soccer team, the cutting edge that allows the squad to stay together and keep common goals is acquired through many means of motivation.
Enter Kamille Cawley.
Cawley, a 24-year-old kinesiology major, is a member of OCC’s soccer team.
When Cawley was just 4 years old, doctors noticed a tumor growing on her leg. This tumor, which was mutating on the side of her left thigh, stripped her of her ability to walk.
After surgery at the age of 5 and trip after trip to the hospital through the age of 7, she was not only able to walk again, but also find herself back on the pitch and become a prolific, highly motivated athlete.
“It definitely motivated me in life,” Cawley said, “Mostly because I was told there was a chance I would never walk again.”
While the prognosis could have been devastating, Cawley used this as an opportunity to prove she could overcome anything.
Cawley grew up in Chino Hills, where she played soccer for both Chino Hills High School and St. Lucy’s, an all-girls school. Her bond with Orange County began when she was also suiting up for Slammers Soccer Club in Newport Beach.
“[Playing in] high school was fun,” she said, “Playing for Slammers was where I competed.”
It was during her time at the Newport-based club that she attracted the eyes of universities and was offered as many as a dozen scholarships, including a full-ride to NCAA Division I school Stony Brook University in New York.
A mixture of indecisiveness put her soccer hopes on sabbatical, leaving her with a full-time job and a couple of classes at Mt. San Antonio College.
Fast-forward half a dozen years from her senior year in high school and her ties with Orange County would rekindle.
Cawley decided to attend Coast because she was “used to coming to Newport” from her club days. Of course, coming from Diamond Bar, where she now resides, is never fun, but it’s worth it, she said.
She now plays for head coach Kevin Smith, who has established a consistent squad in his past five seasons in charge.
“When Kamille first came in, she was out of shape,” Smith said, understandingly as she was gone from the game for more than five years. “But three weeks into practice, she became the most match-fit player on the team.”
For someone who has played in multiple teams at a time, it’s evident that losing your groove rarely happens, but fitness comes with hard work in practice. And with girls around her, such as captain Anmarie Moreno, who has a tireless work rate at any point in time, vigor was never going to be a problem.
Cawley made her point clear about just how well Moreno’s work rate and leadership rubbed off on her.
Moreno “works her butt off and never stops,” Cawley said.
Sharing accolades given is something this group is keen on expressing. The cordiality between the team is as good as any.
“We’ve become really, really close,” Cawley said, “We’ve gone to baseball games and most girls hang out together on weekends.”
The ultimate prize of winning is motivation enough for a true competitor.
For Cawley and the team sharing the title together with this unified clique of determined athletes has been motivation enough all season.
Motivation for Cawley comes in the added form of a scar.
A scar that is ‘tattooed’ on the inside of her left leg that reminds her every day of what it’s like to not be able to walk. It’s easy to walk away from things when you can – but when you leave too soon, it may take years to realize what you’ve been missing all along.
And thanks to the scar, Cawley found out six years later the importance of what she surrendered.