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BYU Today

More Than Just Good Grades

Laura Heaton has impressive goals both on the soccer field and in the classroom.

It all goes back to one day in high school—the day the freshman girls’ soccer team sat down to write out their personal goals. After some consideration, defender Laura Heaton (’07) took up her pen and surprised herself by writing the words “play college soccer.” This was the first time she had ever thought about taking her soccer beyond high school, and suddenly she liked the idea. Heaton shared the goal with her coach, who warned her that she would have to work hard to achieve it. “Just from writing that down,” Heaton says, “I became determined that that’s what I was going to do.”

Heaton’s coach was right—it did take lot of work. But by coupling that work with a positive attitude, Heaton has reached her goal and currently plays defense for the BYU women’s soccer team. Along the way to accomplishing her athletic goal, she hasn’t forgotten other priorities. This year, Heaton was presented with the Kimball Memorial Award, given to the student with the highest GPA of all BYU athletes. Heaton won the award with a 3.96—not bad for a full-time student who is earning a degree in communications disorders with a minor in music, plays college soccer, and still finds time to spend with her eight Provo-dwelling siblings. As Chris Watkins (BA ’96), women’s soccer assistant coach, puts it, “That award is fantastic, but there is so much more to her than just good grades.”

Despite the rigors of her busy schedule, Laura still finds the time—and energy—to be her best and encourages others to do the same. Laura’s teammate and roommate Haylee Cuthbert (’07) can attest to that: “Laura’s so fun to be around because she’s always happy and she just makes you feel good about yourself.” BYU women’s head soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood (BS ’89) calls Laura an “ultimate all-around student athlete,” and especially values the example Heaton sets for younger players by “showing how important academics are, and how important it is to be disciplined in everything they do.”

Whenever a teammate is feeling down, Heaton is the first to jump in and brighten things up. “Keeping that positive outlook is really important,” Heaton explains. “The minute you start getting negative, you won’t play well and you won’t have fun. It needs to be something you enjoy.” Heaton believes that, with any task in life, the way to find success is to “give it your best shot and enjoy doing it.”

Heaton is working to improve her game in her senior year. “My goals for the season are making sure that I’m still loving it, helping the other girls, and improving as much as I can. I hope to work my hardest and then see where it can take me.”