Deines And Pele Are True Captains
Sept. 15, 2010
SEATTLE - Dwayne Wade and Lebron James. Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Kendyl Pele and Kate Deines. All outstanding athletes as well as incredible friends. However, unless you are a Huskies or Pac-10 athletics fan, those last two names may not yet sound familiar to you.
Pele and Deines are the team captains for this year's University of Washington women's soccer team. Their accomplishments are great, both on and off the field and head coach Lesle Gallimore echoes this saying they "just excel in every facet of their life - socially, academically, athletically - that it's impressive."
The way coach Gallimore describes these girls and the way Pele and Deines describe each other, they were the perfect choices for team captains. Coach Gallimore says about both girls that "I think they both do a good job representing the group and representing the standard that our program strives for."
When asked why they thought they had been chosen as team captains, Pele and Deines were hesitant to talk about themselves but were quick to describe each other's greatest attributes, showcasing the true friendship and respect between the girls. About Deines, Pele commented "I think Kate makes a really good captain because she leads by example. [...] She pushes everyone because she just does her best every time she steps on the field, whether it's in practice or in a game, and I think that, as a player, that's who I look up to - people who will always work hard no matter what."
Pele then jokes to Deines, "Do you want to say something nice about me?" which was followed by a round of laughter. Deines echoed Pele's sentimental words saying that "[Kendyl's] work ethic separates her from a lot of people. You can always see her going the extra mile."
Deines, hailing from Issaquah, Wash., is a junior this year and plays midfielder. She started playing organized soccer on her first Mighty Mites team when she was four years old. She remembers, "My grandma got me my first soccer ball when I was one and I guess I let out a squeal of excitement, so I was just destined to play."
Though it's still early in the season, she has already had one of the most memorable games of her career. In the Huskies' game against Syracuse on September 3rd, as part of the Husky/Nike Invitational, she had her first hat trick, scoring three goals in a single game. Because of her performance in this game, she was named Gohuskies.com Student-Athlete of the Week the following week.
While she confirmed "It was a huge honor", she takes very little credit for her performance saying "[That was] a first for me and I feel like I owe much of it to my teammates because they really set me up for it and I just did the easy part by putting the ball in the back of the net." Simply put, Coach Gallimore beamed with pride as she remarked that "Kate exudes leadership. [...][She], for sure, has always been a lead by example person."
Pele, from Kennewick, Wash., is a senior this year and plays defender. Her love for soccer also began when she was very young and would go to her brothers' practices while her dad coached them.
"All I've ever wanted to do with my life is just play," Pele admits. This is her third year as captain and she differentiates this year as captain saying "I feel like I have more experience [and] our team is a lot better so I feel like everything's kind of coming together [...] and I just want to lead my team as best as I can to go as far as we can."
Her sense of passion and focus became clear when, asked about her post-college plans, she replied "I don't know. Being in the middle of the season right now, I try not to look past that. I just want to focus on playing well and getting through the season, getting as far as we can."
About Pele, coach Gallimore said, "I don't think she has to do much to get people to follow her and she leads by example. [...] She's really grown into one of the best defenders in our conference and in the country."
Not only are Pele and Deines tremendous athletes, they're incredible students, fun to be around and find time in their busy schedules to give back to the community. Coach Gallimore attests to their characters and their academic proficiency saying "I think they're super appreciative of what they get [and] they use the resources they have to the hilt, because they're really achievement oriented and ambitious, and if you pull out Kate and Kendyl's transcripts, they're two of the best students on our team."
Pele echoed the importance of school and admitted that, as important as soccer is, "school is the most important thing so we try to put that first." The girls praised their coaches for making community service important and mandatory for the team.
Pele elaborated on this indicating "Just as a team, [we're] involved in a lot of community service. [...] I think it helps that our coaches really ingrain in us to try to have things outside of soccer and give back to the community."
Both athletes, as well as coach Gallimore, admitted that they all have a lot of fun and that soccer isn't always about fierce competition.
Deines described Pele's true character off the field revealing "She, off the field, adds the special element of humor. She's kind of our class clown, you might say. She definitely brings a lot of character to the team and she can make anyone smile."
Coach Gallimore echoed, "For all the seriousness and as serious as they can be on the field, and as serious as they can be in the classroom, and as achievement-oriented and, sort of, intense as they both can be, they're both ginormous goofballs."
Deines, Pele and the rest of the team are busy preparing for this Friday's game against Cleveland State, the Huskies' first ever matchup against the Vikings.
Pele expressed the importance of the team working primarily on themselves and their offense this week in preparation for this game saying "We don't know much about them, but we kind of like that. We kind of like to focus on ourselves."
Coach Gallimore agreed with this idea of an increased focus on offense saying that "what we've just started today and the next couple practices is how we get a little more selfish in front of the goal and how we finish our chances, how we look to penetrate, and how we look to try to get up on teams early and put them away so they don't have a chance come the second half." She also expressed the importance of not just having a one-game week but also being able to spend that extra preparation time at home saying "I just know being home and just preparing, for one, is a great mental and physical break for the team and it comes at a good time."
This season looks bright for coach Gallimore's team and as Deines remarked "I think we can beat any team we play against so I think we're really going to surprise people in the Pac-10 and come tournament time."
The increased experience and talent will certainly benefit the team. However, their spirit of friendship, unity, and respect for each other is the quality that will really propel this team throughout the season.
As Coach Gallimore said, "They're really, really accepting of each other's differences and understand that dynamic and that it does carry out onto the field. [...] For me, the biggest reward I get out of coaching is probably not the reward I saw ahead of time that would be the biggest reward, which is the relationship with the players, which is the ability to influence the lives of younger people who, through sport, want to achieve."
Deines remarked that she would do anything for her fellow teammates and knew her teammates would do the same. Pele agreed saying "I think all of us; we're really truly a family. These girls are my best friends and I think the coaches have a lot to do with it."
After spending just a few minutes with the two captains and with coach Gallimore, one can't help but be proud of the way this team is representing the University of Washington. As Coach Gallimore put it, "I tell people all the time `When I grow up, I want to be just like them'."
The names Kendyl Pele and Kate Deines may not yet be familiar to sports fans around the nation, but the legacy that they'll leave at the University of Washington will not soon be forgotten. As coach Gallimore appropriately summed it up, "Playing sports is serious fun, it's not just serious and it's not just fun. There's a happy combination in between and you can sort of find that maturity in your leadership and know the timing of when and what. [Kate and Kendyl] haven't always been perfect at it. They've learned over time, how to pick and choose their times and I think that's going to be a great legacy that they both leave, along with a lot of W's."