EUGENE – If the name Cloe Chase isn’t familiar, here’s a quick rundown of the senior Marist Catholic girls soccer star: 97 career goals; 31 goals in 11 games this season; defending Class 4A state champion; University of Oregon commit; Portland Thorns academy player.
Quite the list of athletic accomplishments for the Springfield native. And yet, perhaps her greatest asset is the ability to not let any of those achievements go to her head.
“As talented as she is, the most amazing thing about Cloe is that she’s incredibly humble. She’s the most humble person you’ll ever meet,” said Stefan Schroffner, Chase’s coach. “She’s the best athlete I’ve ever coached.”
Chase’s 31 goals through 11 games this season – all Marist wins – are the most in the state, regardless of classification. She is averaging nearly a hat trick per game.
“I always go into every single game with the mindset that I want to win, and I want to score. I have that game-winning mentality, and I want to show up and play my very best,” Chase said. “Even though (opponents) may have strategies, I want to go in making it seem like, ‘Oh, they don’t know who I am. I have something to prove.’”
Racking up the stats
Up to this point in her career, there’s not much Chase hasn’t proven. If Chase can score 10 more goals this season, she’ll tie the 10th-best single-season mark in Oregon history. With three more goals she’ll hit 100 in her career – something only 14 athletes have done in the state history.
“It’s pretty groundbreaking. My parents and I, we looked at it over the summer and were like, ‘I gotta hit this, I gotta hit this.’ So that definitely was a goal, hitting 100. But now that it’s like, so close, I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m doing it,’” Chase said. “And my team helped me get there as well. It’s not just me. I know some of my friends are making a big poster for when I do hit it. I wish it was a home game, but it’s OK.”
Schroffner has been on the sidelines for all those goals, and noted that the context of how Chase made it to 100 makes the accomplishment even more impressive.
“It has been on my radar that she’s getting close to 100 goals, and I want to make that a special moment, because it’s rare. In 40 or 50 years of Oregon girls soccer, there’s only about 10 to 15 to get 100 goals,” Schroffner said. “When you consider that she played through a shortened Covid season that had only 12 games, and she’s played in all the years where you can’t exceed an eight-goal differential, it’s even more amazing. When you consider how many games she’s done it in, it’s phenomenal.”
Despite the individual success, Chase cares more about her teammates. It’s why she doesn’t have any specific celebration planned for the 100th goal. “I like celebrating with the team more than anything,” she said.
How Chase found the team that she says is “like family” is perhaps as interesting as any part of her story. Chase first started playing soccer on the island of Oahu in Hawai’i before moving to Arizona, and finally Springfield – just a few blocks away from Thurston High School.
Schroffner said he and Thurston coach Benton Canaga have joked about what would have happened if Chase chose Thurston over Marist.
When Chase, listed as 5-foot-9, arrived at Marist before her freshman season, it was a period of adjustment.
“I had heard of Cloe as a freshman. I think she was about 5-foot-2 as a very young freshman. When she first came to summer workouts, you could tell that she was just trying to figure out how to be a high schooler. While at the same time as trying to make an immediate impact as a freshman,” Schroffner said, noting that Chase’s first year was the first season of Covid sports.
Battling through Covid
Chase said that while adjusting to being a varsity player as a freshman was difficult, the culture at Marist allowed her to thrive. Because of the shortened Covid season, there were no official playoffs, though Class 4A hosted a showcase at the end of the season – with Marist making it all the way to the finals.
“In 2020 when they had the Class 4A showcase – and everyone in 4A considered that the state final – we made it to the finals and lost to North Marion in a penalty shootout,” Schroffner said. “It was heartbreaking, but that was her freshman year. And I think that gave her that feeling that, ‘Wow, this is a big deal.’”
Chase came back stronger her sophomore year before having a breakout season as a junior – finishing the season with 27 goals and helping lead Marist to its first state title.
“Going in, having some of my closest friends being the seniors was super exciting. We had a transfer Sela Freeman, we played club when we were younger, and Paige Meador too, we were on the same team. So it was kind of a mini-reunion, and we were like, ‘We got to win state,’” Chase said. “We always felt like we’re gonna win state. From the very beginning, we just knew. And so when we came out here, and it was obvious our chemistry was clicking, we were scoring goals and keeping tons of shutouts, we were like, ‘Oh, we got this.’”
Chase was a captain as a junior on that team and scored the opening goal in Marist’s 4-0 title win over Hidden Valley. This year she is the sole senior on the team, with the majority of the leadership duties on her shoulders.
“It was definitely different. It was intimidating at the beginning, like, ‘How do I navigate this? How should I approach the situation?’ Because I’ve always been known as kind of just the fun kid, and a little bit of a goof-off,” Chase said. “But all my teammates have been so supportive as well. And I’ve just obviously gotten a lot closer to them.”
Learning to lead
Schroffner said Chase’s soccer IQ is “through the roof,” and the growth he’s seen from her leadership skills is one of the biggest things she’s developed.
“She’s such a great teammate. That’s the one thing I’ll say about Cloe, and that’s been since she was a freshman. She’s always been very likable, and she’s very personable,” Schroffner said. “Last year she was a junior captain. Sometimes it’s the senior captain who needs to lay the hammer (as) a leader. Not in a bad way, but in a good way.
“This season, she’s realizing that is her role. And she has a great self-awareness to be tough on herself, but also her teammates, and as a team.”
Productive may be an understatement. Marist is on a 27-game win streak dating to Sept. 7 of last year, the seventh-longest win streak in state history. That streak, coupled with last year’s state title, means the target on Marist’s back is bigger than ever.
“We’re not coming in trying to win it for the first time. Everybody knows Cloe Chase; everybody knows Marist girls soccer. We’ve got that target, and that is something we realize. We know that whoever we play, they’re going to play their best game,” Schroffner said.
Chase said that while the target can be intimidating at times, it also keeps the team focused on its biggest goal – repeating as state champions. What would it mean for Chase to accomplish her 100-goal mark and a state title?
“It would mean so much to me. They’ve all been here from the very beginning. We’re all super close, and I could go out there and have a personal conversation with each and every one of them,” Chase said. “All of them have done so much for me, and I try to give back to them as well. I just love them so much. I come to school every day waiting for soccer practice just to see them.”
Chase and Marist continue their quest this Thursday at Junction City and play host to Class 3A No. 2 Catlin Gabel to end the regular season on Oct. 24 – senior night for Chase.