Leading bible studies, pledging a social club and playing a Div. 1 sport are all things students have the ability to do at ACU, but not many do. However, Chloe Fifer, a junior education major from McKinney has managed to do each of these while keeping a 3.85 GPA.
Much of Fifer’s success on the pitch has been a product of her passing ability and vision, something she says she has always viewed as one of her strengths.
“I’ve never been one to take a whole lot of shots myself,” Fifer said. “I kind of like to do a lot of passing, and working the ball up the field, and so I think thats kind of helped me get a a lot of assists this year is just by being someone who looks for the open player and can see the field really well.”
In fact to this point in her junior season, Fifer is tops in the Southland Conference in assists and has had a foot in almost 50 percent of the Wildcat’s scoring output, assisting on seven of the 18 goals. The 19th team goal being one she scored herself.
Salas said Fifer’s consistency has played a large role in the success.
“She is very unselfish with her play, which shows in her seven assists,” Salas said. “She’s one of the most consistent players on the team as well. You know what you’re going to get from her each game and she still pushes and exceeds our expectations.”
A 2014 graduate from McKinney Boyd High School, Fifer and her older sister began playing soccer after moving to Texas from Colorado. And the two even played together in high school. Fifer said growing up she tried numerous sports, but it was soccer she thought she excelled at.
“It’s been fun to see how much my life has changed because of soccer,” Fifer said.
One those changes has been her role on the team. Although Fifer played fairly significant minutes each of her first two seasons, where she accumulated four assists, her 693 minutes this year are a representation of the leadership role she now plays.
“I kind of had a difficult job finding my role on the team last year,” Fifer said. “So then this year starting off fresh again I really feel like I’ve been a leader on this team on and off the field.”
But even in establishing herself as a reliable facilitator for the Wildcats, Salas said Fifer’s most beneficial attributes as a player are her vision and composure on the field.
“There’s not much flash to her game but she is always consistent and solid,” Salas said. “She plays as a wide player for us, whether it’s up top, in the midfield, or in the back. That versatility of moving positions has allowed her to try different things in the game.”
Although individually Fifer leads the conference in assists, she is also a big reason why ACU leads the conference in corner kicks. But more importantly why they have been such an important set piece for the team this season.
“We saw that we could score on them so we put more of an emphasis and focus on executing,” Salas said. Chloe and Natalie have a good vision and touch to serve those balls into dangerous areas to where we have connected on them. We gave up some set pieces goals early on in the season, so it’s been nice to be on the other end of that.”
Fifer said for her and senior forward Natalie Throneberry it can be hard to put the ball in the exact right spot, but when they do it gives them an opportunity.
“It’s a lot of pressure to put it in the exact same spot every time, but if i am able to do that it pretty much works out well every time.”
Four of Fifer’s seven assists have come from the corner kick variety, with two finding senior defender Kelsie Roberts. Since the beginning of conference play, Fifer said she has created a good connection with Roberts, and forwards like Throneberry, who leads the team with three goals and sophomore Dylan Owens.
“We have a good connection because I can assume that they’re going to be there, it’s nice knowing that someone will be on the other end of the cross,” Fifer said.
This connection can also be seen in how Fifer moves without the ball. Fifer said since her freshman year, this has been one of the biggest improvements in her game.
“I’ve really gotten better at opening up more, improving my movements off of the ball,” Fifer said. “And so when I put myself in better positions to receive the ball it gives me more opportunity and more time on the ball to see what’s around me.”
But Roberts said the connection that Fifer has with her teammates goes beyond the field.
“Chloe’s work ethic on and off the field is outstanding, she also serves as a spiritual light on our team,” Roberts said. “We’re both driven individuals so Chloe is easy to get along with and just a fun person to be around.”
As close as the team is as a whole, Fifer said junior forward Megan Baer and junior defensive midfielder Emily Duke have been with her through almost everything at ACU. In fact, during their sophomore season all three pledged the same club and were able to help each other through the process, especially when Fifer was coming back from an injury.
“I love watching her play as her teammate and friend,” Baer said. “It’s been even more special watching her come back from several big injuries in her college career. “We just always support each other and go crazy about each others goals and big plays.”
And now as housemates the three are closer than ever.
But as great as Fifer’s experience has been, her personal goal and team goal this season is a conference title. At 3-1-1 in conference the team sits in fourth place in the Southland Conference, five points behind SFA with 15, but still has a good chance if it wins out. And if that happens, Fifer’s assist totals and passing efficiency will continue to grow.