ABC 27's Scholar Athlete of the Week: Chiles' Layla Thompson

scholar athlete
Posted at 6:29 PM, Feb 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 18:29:58-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Chiles High School girls soccer team's season ended last week with an overtime loss in the regional semifinals, but it's a season Layla Thompson won't forget anytime soon, and her impact on this program is one the Timberwolves won't be forgetting either.

"It's crazy because I still feel like a freshman," she laughed when reflecting on her four year varsity career at Chiles.

Although her time as a Timberwolf may be up, the bar that Thompson has helped set has never been higher.

"I think there's always an expectation when you come to this school, and a lot of that comes from people like her who are willing to put in the hard work and the hard hours," said Chiles head boys soccer coach Bryan McDonald, who also trains Layla outside of school. "That's what it takes. She sets the standard."

A standard of winning. As a freshman, Thompson helped snap a near decade long dry spell in winning a district title. She's added two more since.

"I just tried to keep that going because I want to build up the program and feel like I've done something in the future."

"She's become more of a leader because she's got that experience, experience she's gotten from being tested in adversity from a young age and sliding into a very good team early," added McDonald.

The work it took to get there hasn't gone unnoticed. Thompson will continue her soccer career at the University of North Florida, and her efforts on the pitch, are as strong as her efforts in the classroom. Thompson has a 4.28 GPA.

"It's always been something I've held to a high standard," she said. "I've wanted to be the best that I can be."

"Phenomenal individual who's just as dedicated on the field as she is off the field in making sure that her studies are up to par and beyond," added McDonald.

A mindset that has Thompson leaving a legacy behind.

"I can see that this program is going up and it's going to do well in the future and I'm really excited to see that."

A future set by the success of the past. Thompson said her plan is to study biology with the goal of one day possibly becoming a vet.