Making Every Game Count
By Haley Hirai
Lindsay Parlee wanted to play soccer as early as she could. At three years old, she followed her older brother Ryan to his soccer practice and fell in love with the game. She wanted to go to all of his practices, but she wasn't allowed.
At six years old, she knew she wanted to be a collegiate athlete, and she got her first pair of goalie gloves at eight. Now a senior at Oregon, the Tualatin, Ore., native is facing her last season with the sport she has always loved.
"It's surreal. These are perhaps the last competitive games I'm going to play in my career. I don't ever want to think of it ending. I'll play every day like it's my last," she said.
The Oregon goalkeeper said she loves the grind of the game. Goals are sometimes few and far between, which builds anticipation throughout the game, especially for goalkeepers. Parlee sometimes jokes that playing the position is a completely different sport and skill set.
"When someone's coming at me, I feel the challenge. I want them to shoot the ball. No fear. The harder they shoot it, the better. Bring it on," she said. "Take that shot. Be the hardest person on the field. The mentality takes me over and the adrenaline drives me. There's no time to be afraid. I love ruining the day for the other team."
Parlee is the team's co-captain with redshirt junior Lauren Thompson. With different leadership styles, one will always catch things that the other misses. Parlee describes the team's chemistry as "absolutely awesome." With a class of 12 incoming freshmen, the team put in a lot of work over the winter and spring working on leadership and structure.
"I think we've paved a great road for the youngsters. There's a mutual respect amongst everyone, whether you're a freshman or a senior. Everyone works every day for each other. There's a selfless mood," Parlee said.
The team recently bonded during camping retreats without their coaches. After splitting into teams, one group made a tribal dance, another made a flag, another built a wilderness hut, and the last created a statue. At a "big sis-little sis" night, they tie-dyed t-shirts for each other. The team also loves to get together to go swimming or see movies at the local dollar theater.
Parlee's passion for soccer parallels her passion for her schoolwork. Majoring in human physiology, she is studying for the MCAT and hopes to attend medical school. After briefly considering architecture or business, Parlee decided that being a doctor was always something she had wanted to do. Her dad is a pharmacist, and health has always been an important aspect of her life and soccer career.
Growing up watching the Pac-12, Parlee had always wanted to become a part of it. She's now spent four years in the conference playing the game she's always loved. Just like every other game in her career, Parlee will make these last ones count.