Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Junior college soccer teammates reunited in Ottawa

By Amanda Roseberry/Special to the Herald | 9/1/2009

Many new college students experience a huge fear among people. Being alone.

However, three Ottawa University women soccer players, Nichole Bishop, Amber Webb and Kristi French, don’t have those worries.

Many new college students experience a huge fear among people. Being alone.

However, three Ottawa University women soccer players, Nichole Bishop, Amber Webb and Kristi French, don’t have those worries.

The trio attended Cuyamaca Community College together and have come to Ottawa to continue their collegiate careers.

Ottawa women’s soccer coach Craig Shaw sent the Cuyamaca coach an e-mail asking if Webb, Santee, Calif., had chosen a school. She had not and came for a recruiting visit.

“I stayed with Kasey Craven and Morgan White,” she said. “I really liked that the school was small and personable. I was still making decisions when coach called asking if I knew of any goalies. I thought, ‘As a matter of fact, I do.’”

Webb gave Shaw the contact information for Bishop, Imperial Beach, Calif.

“The ironic thing is that my family is from here,” Bishop said. “So I was willing to look.”

Days later, Shaw contacted Webb again looking for a defender. Not wanting to continue with school or soccer, French of Santee, Calif., was ready to move on.

“Amber called me asking what I would think of moving to Kansas. I remember saying ‘no way,’” French said. “But, I made the recruiting trip with Nichole, came out here and loved it.”

Bishop and French signed on their recruiting trips. Webb signed two days later.

With a combined 45 years of soccer experience, the girls’ history together started before college. Webb and French were crosstown rivals. Bishop and French first played at Cuyamaca, and once Webb had recovered from injuries, the defensive triangle was complete.

With a record of 15-4-3, all-conference and most valuable defender awards won, the players respond in unison that there is “definitely a connection” when asked if knowing each other helps on the field.

“We’re comfortable with each other,” Webb said. “I’m learning a new position, but their familiarity makes it easier.”

French agrees that hearing familiar voices and encouragement is reassuring. She feels that there is a trust within their triangle.

“I trust that even if I get beat, it will still be OK knowing the people back behind me,” French said.

Having each other also has eased the transition being almost a 30-hour drive from home.

“We’re far from home, but everyone’s so welcoming that you feel at home,” Webb said. “The weather is a huge change; it’s dark here, there are no street lights. Oh, and I miss frozen yogurt.”

Webb needn’t worry about the dark, or frozen yogurt, as a new teammate, Kelsey Hanna, brings her some from the cafeteria.

“It helps that there are three of us but, we’ve already made friends outside of each other,” French said.

“As a team, the awkwardness is leaving us. Things are really starting to come together. We even have people running that don’t need to be.”

The trio hopes to offer more than their tight bond to their new teammates. French brings experience, while Webb throws in leadership.

“Knowing the new formation we’re learning as a team, we want to be able to help and give some direction and still be encouraging,” Webb said.

Goals for the team don’t differ when it comes to these three transfers either.

“We want to take conference and win it all,” Bishop said. “Definitely get some rings.”

Ottawa opens the season 7 p.m. today at home against Manhattan Christian.

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