Q & A with Kendyl Pele

Sept. 13, 2007

The Washington women's soccer team plays four of their next five games on the road, beginning Friday against Yale at the Portland Invitational.

Defender Kendyl Pele is one of 10 freshmen on the Husky roster. She is one of only six players to start all four games, the only freshman to do so.

Kendyl spent a few minutes with GoHuskies.com talking about the beginning of her first collegiate season.

GoHuskies: Did you have an eye-opening, 'Welcome to college soccer' moment?

Kendyl Pele: 'Yes I did. It came in our first game in Wisconsin against Marquette. That was pretty tough because the speed of play and everything was so much faster than I was used to. But after that game I got used to it.'

GoHuskies: Your record doesn't really reflect how well the team has been playing. What are your thoughts on the season so far?

KP: 'As the games go on, we keep getting better and better. Soon, it's going to happen for us.'

GoHuskies: What do you know about the teams you're playing this weekend - Yale and Kansas?

KP: 'We will go over their stuff a little when we get closer to the game. The way we go into it is focusing on how we're going to play, not focusing on the opponent.'

GoHuskies: What's the team's attitude going into this weekend?

KP: 'We're actually pretty positive because we feel that we played well and just let in some soft goals. We've been working hard in practice all week. We're going in with a good attitude.'

GoHuskies: What was it like to play your first home game last week in front of the Husky crowd?

KP: 'It was a little nerve-wracking, but like I said, I try not to think about that. Hopefully the next home game will have a better outcome.'

GoHuskies: How have you adjusted coming in as a freshman?

KP: 'Fitness-wise, I just do everything they tell me to do. Once you come in you just work as hard as you can. That's all you can do. I'm getting used to the faster pace of the game and how much more physical it is.'

GoHuskies: What do you consider the strengths of your game?

KP: 'I've been getting more comfortable getting forward in the attack. My ability to distribute is okay, I guess.'

GoHuskies: You've been playing outside back, is that a position you're familiar with?

KP: 'In high school I played forward, but in club and ODP I've always been outside back.

GoHuskies: Is that forward experience helpful for when you're able to push forward from the back line?

KP: 'Yeah definitely. Though high school soccer is way different than college soccer. I feel pretty comfortable with the ball, and playing forward helped that.'

GoHuskies: How have you gotten to know your teammates off the field?

KP: 'Our class, my freshman class, is really close. We all do a ton of stuff together. Our seniors and all of our upperclassmen have been really cool, especially during preseason when they were in the dorms with us. We did a lot together, go out to lunch and dinner and stuff. '

GoHuskies: Is there any particular team bonding memory that sticks out in your mind?

KP: 'During preseason, we all went down to the beach and had a barbeque. Then we came back and did skits and stuff. It's kind of a tradition here.'

GoHuskies: You were the only freshman to start the first game of the season. What was that like, starting with an entire group of returning, veteran players?

KP: 'Yeah, I was really nervous. I tried not to think about it. I tried not to think that I was one of the freshmen because the other team isn't going to see me as a freshman. I tried not to think about that on the field.'

GoHuskies: Your name is pronounced differently (PELL -- eee), but what is it like to share the last name of arguably one of the best soccer players ever?

KP: 'I like it. I want to keep my name as long as I can. It's kind of cool getting recognized. People say `Oh cool, Pele, are you related to the soccer player?''

GoHuskies: Brazil's Pele wore jersey No. 10. You wear No. 21 now, but did you ever wear No. 10 in high school or club soccer?

KP: 'Yes I did. That's what I always used to wear. But coming in to college, they issue you a jersey and I'm fine with it.'

GoHuskies: Do you have any idea what you want to major in or what you want to do pursue as a career?

KP: 'I've been thinking about physical therapy. Last year, after I hurt my knee and had to go through that whole process in physical therapy, I really liked it. That's what I think I want to do after college.'

GoHuskies: Do you have family members who play soccer?

KP: 'Both of my older brothers. One just graduated but he played soccer at the University of Evansville. My other brother plays soccer at Western Washington. We're a big soccer family.'

GoHuskies: Did you play a lot with them when you were growing up?

KP: 'When we were in California, my dad was their coach. He'd bring me to practices. They're much older and much better; I never really got to play with them much.'

GoHuskies: Thanks for your time and good luck this weekend.

KP: 'Thank you.'