Archer Sisters Add Unique Dynamic To UW
Sept. 27, 2012
By Sarah Jennings
SEATTLE - Other than by their position and jersey numbers, it's hard to tell the difference between Chelsea and Christina Archer when they are out on the pitch. They might look the same from far away, but up close their differences become clear. It's these differences that not only brought them to the UW, but what has helped them become key players for Lesle Gallimore's program in the relatively short time they have been here.
As Christina tells it, the Oakland, Calif., natives were originally recruited separately. Chelsea had been spotted first, so Christina had to put in a little extra effort to get noticed by Gallimore and her staff.
"Chelsea was first recruited-- our assistant coach Jim Thomas had seen her first--and they knew nothing about me," says Christina. "They didn't know we were twins so I sent out an email and let them know I was also interested in the school."
Despite Chelsea being pursued first, Gallimore contents that they were recruited separately because there was a role on the team for each of them.
"I knew Christina was the underrated of the twins, if you will, and it's the reason we recruited both of them," says Gallimore. "We did recruit them separately and we thought that there was a place [for Christina] here and that she could have an impact."
From their positions to their strengths, to their roles on the team, these identical twins are more different than they are similar. Chelsea is a fast, quick-footed forward while Christina is a solid, smart defensive midfielder.
Beyond spots on the field, it is their individual strengths that really make them distinct and what has allowed them to establish significant roles as only sophomores on a team that has a solid and talented group of veterans.
"Chelsea is a natural born leader, and the other players on our team look to her. She is a great teammate because she's always lifting you up instead of tearing you down," says Gallimore. "Christina is just super reliable and you know she's going to show up and work hard and do her job everyday."
The story of their freshman campaigns took some unexpected turns. By Chelsea's standards, her freshman year fell short of expectations, but Gallimore was never discouraged by her performance.
"Chelsea has super high expectations for herself and she's a really competitive and skillful player--a great player--and I think she was disappointed that she wasn't able to have as big an impact as she wanted to," says Gallimore. "I wasn't disappointed, I knew that it was going to be a difficult adjustment for her and I never for one second looked at her last year and said oh boy we recruited the wrong kid, we shouldn't have had her here--I didn't look at it like that at all."
Christina on the other hand, turned in a performance that earned her the Rookie of the Year award at the end of the 2011 season. Gallimore thought that the role they were asking Christina to play was an easier adjustment for her as she transitioned to the college game. Christina believes that it was her consistency through every game last year that aided her in receiving the honor.
After the spring season concluded, the two headed home to California for the summer. They spent time playing with their old club team and the two of them trained together as they prepared for their sophomore seasons.
Now already half way through their second season as Huskies, the twins have begun to settle in to their separate yet important roles on this year's team.
Asked what the biggest difference between her freshman and sophomore years, Chelsea believes it's the comfort of being a second year player and having that year of experience under her belt.
"I think freshman year I was just trying to get used to the team dynamic and playing with different players," says Chelsea. "This year I feel a little more comfortable, moving into my second year I know how the team plays and I know what the coaches expect."
For Christina, the keys to maintaining and building on the success she experienced her freshman year are continuing to be consistent and making sure she keeps her confidence level up. According to Gallimore, the year of experience for both has propelled them into their current roles as starters seeing significant minutes, which in turn has helped the team to a strong start to the 2012 season--but, again, in contrasting ways.
"Christina has just been a rock, and her experience last year certainly has helped her this year put a little bit more weight on her own shoulders to carry some things," Gallimore says. "And Chelsea, I just think she went away with a fire in her belly and sort of a self determination to come back stronger and have an impact this year and she's certainly done that."
Looking forward to the next two plus years, Gallimore expects both Chelsea and Christina to improve and continue to grow into their roles.
"Chelsea I think is just going to be someone that we can rely on to be a goal scorer, I think she's smart enough and skillful enough and her sophistication will get better and better just having experience," says Gallimore. "Christina, I just think she's going to get better and better by who she is--she plays a really intelligent brand of soccer--and she is going to be someone who just continues to be that steady cog."
Adds Gallimore, "And that's a great thing to have on a team, is someone you can count on day in and day out."
Despite all of these differences, ultimately it is the identical twins together as a duo that creates a unique situation for the team and adds a dynamic that Gallimore hadn't originally anticipated when she recruited the sisters to play for her.
"I think as a duo they bring uniqueness to our team. If you want your players to end up being like sisters and kind of have this family bond you don't have to look any further than those two and how they act around each other, how they have each other's backs," she says. "There's such a mutual respect there [between them] that I think it teaches our whole team and our staff a huge lesson on how you want to treat people that you are working together with."