Men’s Soccer: Wootton honored by awards and captain status, but eager to improve

The Lantern
Ohio State then-freshman midfielder Laurence Wootton (17) moves the ball down the field during the Ohio State-Northwestern game March 7. Ohio State won 4-2. Credit: Christian Harsa | Special Projects Director

Ohio State’s Laurence Wootton prospered in 2021 as he filled the stat sheet and led the Buckeyes to multiple victories.

Wootton, a sophomore midfielder from Halstead, England, is a massive presence on the soccer field because of his work ethic and the way he interprets the game. He earned 2021 First Team All-Big Ten honors and ranked No. 21 in the Top 25 men’s soccer college player rankings by TopDrawerSoccer.

The awards mean a great deal to him, but Wootton said he values team success over individual success.

“The awards were a great achievement, and I am always really proud of that,” Wootton said. “Like I said, [soccer] is a team game at the end of the day and I am desperate to win something for this program.”

Wootton followed up his Big Ten Freshman of the Year campaign in 2020 with a productive one in 2021, leading the Buckeyes with six goals and 14 points along with assisting on two goals.

He said he attributes his impressive year to getting an understanding of how soccer is played in the United States and all the conditioning drills he did back in England.

“My freshman year I learned a lot about college soccer, mainly just how fast and furious it is. You never really get a second to breathe,” Wootton said. “Coming into this year, I came back the lightest I’ve ever been and was just an absolute running machine.”

Over Wootton’s two years at Ohio State, he started all 25 games as a Buckeye. He played 1,247 minutes throughout 15 games. Wootton said his lungs got him through many games as he trusts his training.

“I was able to get around the pitch and put myself in the right spots that others couldn’t get to because they weren’t as fit as me,” Wootton said. “Going into next year, it is keeping that level of fitness and getting into those right spots, getting myself opportunities to score.”

Junior forward Channing Chasten said he enjoys playing with Wootton because he is multiskilled and always covering ground on the pitch.

“He is super versatile. He runs probably the most on the field and can play a beautiful range of passes,” Chasten said. “In the air, he wins every ball. He leads the group and builds us up and he leads by example.”

Head coach Brian Maisonneuve said not only is Wootton a great player, but he is an even better teammate as his attitude is one of the best on the team.

“Whenever your captain and highest points-getter is your hardest worker, that goes such a long way. He does it on both sides of the ball for 90 minutes,” Maisonneuve said. “He does it all and he is the captain of the team with the voice in the locker room.”

Chasten said he and Wootton are close off the field as they have gotten to know each other well in their time at Ohio State together.

Since arriving at Ohio State in 2020, Wootton’s accumulated plenty of statistical success, but his impact off the field is what may lead the Buckeyes to glory in the coming seasons.

“He is just a really good overall guy that you could just talk to at all times. We have gotten really close just from him being a foreign student as well,” Chasten said. “It is just cool to be around him as he is someone who is easy to talk to.”

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