Best Friends, Roommates, Now Fifth-Year Captains
July 26, 2012
Dufka (San Francisco, Calif.) and Davidson (Portland, Ore.) both came to UW in 2008 with the class that graduated this past year including Kate Deines, Sarah Martinez, Alex Webber, Jorde LaFontaine-Kussmann and Kelli Stewart. However, injuries forced them to redshirt and have now given them the opportunity to come back for a fifth-year and truly be team leaders.
Dufka missed all of 2009 with an injury and half of 2011 but is healthy and ready to hit the field in 2012. Davidson was named the starter her freshman year after a team injury and was successful then and also in 2009. She had limited time in 2010 and 2011 but hopes to be the starting goalkeeper this year.
"I'm extremely proud to be representing the group that is coming through next year," Davidson said." It's a very exciting time, an exciting group of players and I'm very honored to representing them."
Davidson and Dufka are just two of three seniors on the team along with midfielder Kelsea Brajkovich. The senior trio paired with a very experienced junior class will help lead nine freshman newcomers.
"I think having been here for four years and coming back for a fifth comes with a large set of experiences that will help both Kari and I be good leaders for having been here for so long," said Dufka. "We also have very different personalities that complement each other very well and the two of us together can be a better set of leaders than either of us could be individually."
The 2010 season was one of the best in UW women's soccer history as the team advanced to the NCAA Elite 8 for the second time in school history. That season the Huskies also defeated No. 2 overall Portland in the NCAA Second Round and nationally ranked UC Irvine in the NCAA Third Round.
Now the co-captains are looking back to their former leaders for success this season. Playing under different captains for four years, Dufka and Davidson have many different examples of leadership to draw on. But this year the captains are stressing teamwork and unity, values they learned from past captains Kate Deines and Sarah Martinez.
"(It's) the importance of having each others backs," said Davidson. "Captains that I've learned from have been awesome examples on and off the field. They gave me the feeling that I wanted to win for those individuals even more than I wanted to win for myself. They made me a better player and I hope that I'm able to provide that same support that I was given to some of those younger players now. Kate and Sarah are two amazing leaders to follow and big shoes to fill. They are two of my closest friends and I look up to them. They are very inspiring and I will go to them for advice."
With the advice of their coaching staff and former captains, the admittedly different minded co-captains have a plan to create synergy with their contrasting styles to effectively lead.
"Our personalities are really different," said Dufka. "I'm more of an organized, like to get things done right away, planner, do-oer type and Kari is more the creative mind. It works really well and we have been friends for a really long time but this is going to be a challenge for us because any disagreement we have stays behind closed doors and we would "Agree to Disagree". Now, "Agree to Agree" is the new motto. We are going to finding a way to make it work no matter how much discussion or time it takes. We are willing to take on the challenge of finding a way to agree, compromise and be on the same page about how we want to lead."
Despite their different personalities, the captains and roommates have one goal for the season. Win.
"The goal is always the end of the road," said Davidson. "You can't be at this level and not compete and be shooting for the national championship. We wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for that love and desire to reach that point." Dufka adds, "I want to win a national championship. I want to go out with a bang. Its our last year, I'm graduating in December, six more months at the UW and want to make every second count. No regrets. Enjoying every moment, having fun and winning a ton of games."
Since both captains had to medically redshirt, they can relate to the starters and the players on the bench. They plan to part their knowledge and experiences with the team to be successful on and off the field.
"I think we both come from perspectives that our roads at UW have not always been easy and between the two of us we have the most experience than most players will in their four years," said Davidson. "We have experienced the feeling to be out with an injury, the feeling of sitting the bench, the feeling of knowing you could've done more to be a starter. (We can) empathize in those position and having those experience will be able to see the perspectives of the team in many different situations."
The best friends now have one more year to achieve their championship dreams. The Huskies will start camp and preseason August 1. They will face Seattle University on August 17 at 4 p.m. at Championship Field.