With the combination of sports and siblings, usually there is a respectful, yet adversarial construct, such as Eli and Peyton Manning. It is not very often that you get two siblings playing together on the same team.
The Cowgirls’ soccer team is one of those rare cases.
Sara and Jennifer Paul have been playing together since they were young, growing up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
“I was seven years old when I started playing,” Sara said. “[Jennifer] started when she was five, but she played with me and my friends.”
But being younger than Sara, Jennifer did not always get to share the sport with her sister.
“I was more little than my sister, but I still would try and play even though [Sara and her friends] were bigger,” Jennifer said. “My dad would have to pull me out sometimes and not let me play because I was too small.”
As they grew up, they were able to play with each other with more regularity. They played on the same high school team at Bishop McNally High School in Calgary. Sara was the first to come to the University of Wyoming.
“I was recruited by the old coach here, but mainly I followed some teammates from Calgary here,” Sara said. “It felt like a good fit for me.”
Jennifer was right behind her.
“I definitely followed my sister here,” Jennifer said. “I look up to her and wanted to play with her.”
Being siblings and having played together for the most of their lives has some great benefits on the field. They have a great understanding of each other and how they are reading the game.
“It is like [Sara] is in my head sometimes,” Jennifer said. “I don’t have to say anything, and she will know what run I am going to make. It is kind of crazy how it works.”
Even with that great understanding, things can get chippy between the two. They each said they hold each other to high standards since they are not just teammates, and they are not afraid to let each other know when they are not playing up to par.
“Every now and then they go at each other a little, probably more than other teammates,” Cowgirls head coach Pete Cuadrado said. “But when you know they are sisters, you kind of let that stuff go. They can manage it and deal with it.”
Cuadrado also found it interesting that Sara and Jennifer have “complete opposite playing styles.”
“You know, Sara is very crafty and the ball, and Jennifer is just a fantastic athlete, but they both have that fiery competitiveness,” Cuadrado said.
Sara and Jennifer’s differing styles complemented each other well. The two had a combined four goals, 10 assists and 18 points last season, and will look to build on that total in 2013.