By Shaun Chornobroff
The legend of Chicago Bulls legend and NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan being cut from his sophomore basketball team has become folklore among the sports world. While Jordan’s success may be an outlier, his story of being rejected and using that to fuel his success is seen among several athletes, including Rider women’s soccer forward Chloe Fisher.
Fisher admits to playing with a chip on her shoulder and a sense of resiliency, something she acquired in her teenage years.
“It started when I was trying to go into an academy when I was 13 and I got denied into every team I tried out for. It gave me a bit of eagerness to see whether I’m good enough, then the year after, seeing I’m good enough and I just didn’t believe in myself was a bit more of an ‘OK, now I’m going to prove it to people,’” Fisher said confidently.
Fisher is from Warrington, England, and started playing soccer when she was 9 years old, joining a grassroots team called Crossfield.
At 13, Fisher decided to test herself and try out for major clubs Manchester United, who her family were die-hard supporters of, Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton. No team offered her a spot. The next year, Fisher tried out for Manchester United, Everton, Liverpool and Stoke City and was offered a spot at her favorite club, Manchester United, along with Everton.
Fisher represented both Manchester United and Everton by the time she came to the United States for a new challenge.
One day, Fisher received a message from College Scholarship USA (CSUSA), a company that helps provide students with opportunities for athletic scholarships in the United States. Fisher admits to thinking it was a scam at first, but she talked to her father and they gave it a chance.
“I went to the one a couple of weeks later… There were seven scouts there and I got scouted by all seven, one of them was Kansas State University. I ended up going to K-State,” Fisher explained.
Fisher’s time at Kansas State was a roller coaster from day one.
“We got into the first game and only the juniors and seniors got played and I was confused by that and he said he ‘always gave them more of an opportunity because they’ve been here longer.’ That kind of threw me off, so I asked him after the game because that’s what we do in England, we go up and ask the coach, but he kind of took it to heart. The next game, he put me in the last 15 minutes of the game and he said ‘come on’ because we were up 2-1 and he’s like ‘try and get your name on the goal-scoring sheet,’” Fisher explained. “This is my first time on the field and on my first touch, I scored. It was a good feeling because it kind of proved a point to him that even though I was a freshman I could still do it and there were about three internationals there and I was the only one that played that season.”
Fisher appeared in all 18 games the Wildcats played that season, but struggled with the number of minutes she played throughout the season.
Although at the end of the season one of her coaches told her “your time will come, it’s your sophomore year where you get more time,” Fisher always had her doubts.
In the spring season, Fisher showed her talent and proved she could be a consistent contributor for Kansas State.
“I did well in spring, we played four games, I scored four and assisted a couple and that was the first time I started a game as well,” Fisher said.
The spring was a preview, but Fisher made a statement in an exhibition game against the University of Arkansas.
“I got started, I scored the first goal we were one-nil up, assisted the second goal we were two-nil up, then he brought me off and said, ‘Oh well done you’ve done your job,’” Fisher said. “Thirty minutes later we’re 3-2 down now and he’s like, ‘Chloe. I want to put you back on’ and I’m like, ‘Right, OK.’ I get right back on and assist the next goal and we finish 3-3… At the end of the game, I didn’t even get one well done and other girls did, so I was a bit like ‘huh’ and ever since that game, when I did so well and was involved in all three goals, I never got any recognition and after that, I kept getting 10-15 minutes a game and in that game, I got 70 minutes. It was in the middle of that season, not even the middle, the start because I had doubts since my first season, that I was like ‘I can’t do this’ it was mentally hurting me too much to know I was trying to give everything in training and never really getting an opportunity to show what I’ve got and so at the end of the regular season I come to the meeting and I just said ‘I don’t want to stay here no more.”
Fisher entered the transfer portal in December 2019 and after talking to many coaches and creating a spreadsheet weighing the pros and cons of many schools, the forward committed to Rider in January 2020.
Fisher heard about the school from former England youth national team teammate and junior defender Niamh Cashin.
Head Coach Drayson Hounsome is particularly excited about Fisher joining the team as she gives the option of a strong target forward. And according to Fisher, Hounsome sees her as the potential final piece in getting Rider back to the MAAC Championship.
“It also caught my eye because they’ve been caught out, they told us in the last three years in the quarterfinals they’ve missed out on the MAAC Championship and he said ‘with the asset of me in the team as a strong forward getting goals that might be one of the difference makers in getting extra goals which could lead us to there and the aim is to win silverware and put your name out there.’”
Fisher is happy to be at Rider, but is also trying to prove a point to her old coaches at Kansas State.
“The point that I went out there and I had two years of misery on the soccer side of it, gives me even more fight. Because I feel like even though I knew I had it in the last two years, I wasn’t able to give it, so now going to Rider, I’m going to make sure I win it and to show K-State, they can kinda lose, but I’m not going to lose no more.”
Follow Shaun Chornobroff on Twitter for the latest on Rider Athletics.