Soccer seniors field a family

Tj Rushing

Family is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head,” and also as “a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation.”

Also see: the senior class of the ISU women’s soccer team.

“Our class, for the most part, lives together or fairly close to one another, so we pretty much do everything together,” said senior midfielder/forward and returning captain Brittanie Waddell. “If we aren’t going to the movies, dinner, watching movies at home or just hanging out, we are always around one of our classmates doing something.”

Senior midfielder Stephanie Kaphingst, the team’s other captain, agrees.

“I would definitely describe the relationship our class has is like a family here at Iowa State,” Kaphingst said.

“Like a family, we do have some rough spots, but we know any problems we have will end up working itself out – we back each other up.”

For years, the seniors have known they share a special bond. Beginning when they were freshmen, the group was often forced into situations that could make or break a team.

They chose to use that experience to make them stronger.

“Pretty much all of us were just thrown into the fire our freshmen year, especially not knowing each other when we got here and then, all the sudden, we are spending at least four hours every day with almost complete strangers,” Kaphingst said. “It is easy for people who just come to college and get a roommate, find out they don’t get along with them, and switch or stay away from them. We are forced to settle our differences, and in the end, we have learned so much from each other.”

Senior forward Erin Witte expanded on Kaphingst’s point.

“We all realized we were thrown into a similar situation where we were all far from home and dealing with the stress of soccer and school,” Witte said. “We looked for each other’s support and we definitely used a shoulder every once in a while.”

In life, as well as in soccer, the senior class will continue to rely on each other. On the field, individual talent, speed or intelligence may not be as valuable the chemistry the team has developed.

“We are able to trust each other when we are on the field. We know that we will back one another up when push comes to shove, and we have the ability to read what the other is doing before hand,” Waddell said.

Coach Rebecca Hornbacher said the seniors exemplify the character of the program.

“It is important to have a group of seniors that demonstrates positive leadership and are willing to show through their actions what it means to be a part of the Iowa State soccer team,” Hornbacher said.

This class has a special bond that isn’t duplicated often. Waddell said it will never be replicated.

“I feel like our class is one in a million sometimes because, as different as we all are, there is something about our group that if you took any one of us out it just wouldn’t be the same,” Waddell said. “We are our own special blend, and I think it’s hard to find a class like ours.”