Junior midfielder Sam Mewis will be blogging for UCLABruins.com during the 2013 season. Mewis is a regular with the U.S. Women's Youth National Team and a two-time all-conference selection who has scored 28 points on nine goals and 10 assists in her two years as a Bruin.
I want to start off this week’s post with a huge congratulations to Mikaela Arnstein. Last year, she gave up a spot on the soccer team at the University of Colorado in order to take advantage of the academics offered by UCLA. Since she still wanted to be a part of the team, she was manager her freshman year. Mikaela worked out with us all winter and spring, doing weights and running, while still being responsible for the manager duties.
This year, the first three days of preseason were a try-out for her to be on the team. Halfway through the second day, Amanda announced that Mikaela was "obviously" in. We are all so happy to have her as an official member of the team. Congratulations, Mikaela!
Mikaela is one of nine sophomores this year. We thought it would be fun to introduce them in the kind of “packages” that they seem to come in.
Taylor, Taylor, Tayler "Taylor x3"
Having three girls with the same name in the same class automatically requires some creativity with nicknames. Taylor Smith, from Texas, is usually just called by her surname, while Tayler Dragoo has been dubbed T-Drag. Taylor Alderete has had many ideas thrown around about her name, but Tay or Taylor is still the most commonly-used for her. We’re expecting big things from all three of them this year. How can you keep them all straight? Taylor Smith loves Rihanna, Taylor Dragoo is a little obsessed with social media (Instagram, Vine, etc.), and Taylor Alderete is the queen of leftovers. She once took home three bites of a piece of salmon from a team dinner (in a napkin, in her pocket.)
Belden and Madison "Siamese Twins"
Belden Long and Madison Tye usually scramble into the locker room five minutes before practice starts, announcing their latest debacle or explaining their best new idea for how to improve our everyday lives. These two both hail from Northern California and, shockingly, were not best friends before they got to UCLA last fall. Some of their favorite activities include binge-watching TV shows, like Gossip Girl and New Girl, and keeping their bedroom floor covered in clothes at all times. Belden is more than obsessed with Ke$ha, and Madison loves Maroon 5. The two of them bring a good chunk of our team’s overall personality to the table, and I’m afraid we would all be terribly bored without them.
Kris and Cassie "SoCal"
Kristiana Konkol and Cassie Sternbach grew up in Southern California and both played club soccer for Real SoCal. Coincidentally, they are both Physiological Science majors here at UCLA. Cassie wants to get into physical therapy, and Kris wants to be a nurse. Cassie plays goalkeeper, and Kris plays forward. In typical Southern California fashion, Cassie scuba dives, and Kris loves surfing. Cassie’s favorite TV show is Breaking Bad (great choice!) and Kris’ is Friends or Family Guy. Kris also speaks Slovak (her mother is from Slovakia, and her father is from Poland.)
Kodi "The Lone Wolf"
Some might think that Kodi Lavrusky would get offended by being in a group by herself, but it would be simply untrue to her to package her with anyone else. Kodi, for lack of a better expression, is the coolest person on the team. This is a unanimous opinion, and it has been ever since we first met her last fall. She’s soft spoken, which makes everything she says either more important or much funnier. Kodi has a tattoo on her shoulder blade that she drew herself. She has black hair all the way down her back that she wears in a bun all the time. The coolest thing of all is that she wants to be in the FBI. Whatever it is, Kodi’s demeanor radiates coolness, and we all put her in a category of her own.
The class of 2014 has been performing well for us in the past week of continued preseason. On Saturday, we took the afternoon off from double-days to go to a team lunch and get a nutrition lesson on food shopping from UCLA’s sports nutritionist, Emily. It was quite the scene walking around Trader Joe’s with 30 girls who were all trying to grocery shop, absorb information, and talk amongst ourselves at the same time. We had Sunday off, so some of us went to the StubHub Center to watch Katelyn Rowland, Lauren Kaskie, and Gabbi Miranda play with the U20 National Team against Japan.
We got back at it on Monday and Tuesday with double-days, and are all looking forward to a cookout/pool party at Cassie’s later this week. The countdown to the first game has really begun - a week from Friday we play Northeastern at Drake Stadium! The freshmen are finally starting to get the hang of everything, and the team is really starting to look and feel prepared for games to begin. We’ll see you next week!