Women’s Soccer Twins Share Complex Connection
By Mason Kelley
Chelsea Archer stood near the Husky Soccer Stadium sideline wearing a purple jacket, while her sister, Christina, ran through a drill with her Washington teammates.
At first glance, the jacket was the only way to tell the twins apart. From their ponytails to their purple headbands, everything matched. They even had the same spot pierced on the left side of their noses.
But the connection shared by the two seniors runs deeper than superficial details. To help explain their twin telepathy, Chelsea looks back to their freshman year.
She was on the field. Christina was on the sideline. Chelsea got hit in the head. Her sister sustained an “automatic headache.”
“It’s like we’re one person in a sense, even though we’re two individuals,” Chelsea said.
Then there was the time one of the twins suffered a nosebleed. It wasn’t long before the other experienced similar symptoms.
“You feel their pain, what they’re going through,” Christina said. “You see how they’re reacting to it, so you kind of react the same way.”
For Chelsea and Christina, their bond was forged at birth. They have been virtually inseparable their whole lives. In fact, they have never been apart for more than 14 days. They grew up playing soccer together. They committed to Washington together.
Now they’re here, seven games into their senior year. Everything they have experienced – good and bad, highs and lows – has brought them to this point – one last season to share.
“To be lucky enough to play 17 years with my best friend and, more importantly, my twin sister means the world,” Chelsea said. “To be able to go to the same college and finish what we started together is huge. Not a lot of people get to do that.”
When asked to describe the twins, Washington coach Lesle Gallimore said, “They’re awesome. They’re great kids.”
Gallimore found the sisters in the Bay Area. Coming out of Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif., Chelsea was the more highly recruited of the two. Unlike their looks, their personalities and play on the pitch are vastly different.
Chelsea is the vocal twin, a player so respected by her teammates she was named team captain even as she works her way through an MCL injury. Christina admits she’s the more reserved of the two, but believes their differences, “balance it out.”
While they may be different in many ways, they are always connected.
“The most interesting and coolest thing about both of them is how much what’s happening with the other one affects them,” Gallimore said. “You have to manage that. Christina can be playing great, playing 90 minutes and achieving all this herself, but if her sister is not also feeling great about herself or doing well, it affects her.”
The twins are their biggest fans and harshest critics. No matter what happens, though, they are “able to help each other and be supportive,” Chelsea said. “When things aren’t going right, it’s easy to tell, because we’ve lived with each other all this time. That’s what makes us, us.”
When the season eventually comes to a close, the twins will be separated for the longest stretch of their lives. Christina is planning to study in Europe for three months. She took trips the Galapagos Islands and Costa Rica in high school, but the longest visit was two weeks.
The twins have already started researching the best ways to keep in touch while Christina is abroad.
“I’m actually kind of nervous about that,” Christina said. “I’m a little nervous, because these aren’t going to be people I know. It’s going to be difficult, because we checked the time difference and it’s like 12 hours.”
But, while it won’t be easy, they both believe it will be a good learning experience.
“My parents have already said they will get us a nice texting plan so we can text and Skype,” Chelsea said. “It will be hard, because she’s someone I go to for everything.”
While the separation won’t be easy, that is something they will focus on in the future. Right now, they have a season to play, a chance to cap their careers with a successful season.
“They’ve had their ups and downs,” Gallimore said. “Our team has had its ups and downs. I don’t think either of them has completely achieved what they want to achieve. For me, I’m really, really hopeful they get out of this season what they want to get out of it.”
Gallimore describes the twins as a two-player team within the team. They have grown up supporting each other, so it comes as little surprise the duo is “all about team.”
“That’s just who they are,” Gallimore said. “That’s how they’re built.”
Each twin has spent so much time bringing out the best in the other they find themselves naturally looking for the good in those around them.
Throughout this one last season of soccer, the sisters want to “be there for others,” while winning a few soccer games along the way.
“That’s the cool thing for me,” Chelsea said, “realizing that’s who we are.”
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