The Size of Talent

Dec. 7, 2007

Washington State Athletic Media Relations
By Erica Beck

Look out on Lower Soccer Field during the Cougars' soccer season and it doesn't take long to spot sophomore Jenny Christoph. The shortest defender on the WSU backline by three inches, Christoph is used to hurdling any difficulties caused by her lack of height.

'A lot of times, other teams will put their big players on my side of the field,' said Christoph. 'And in the past, I've had a few coaches who didn't start me at first because I was small. After they saw me play though, it would get better.'

Christoph grew up in Arizona and began playing soccer at an early age, following in her older brother's footsteps and playing with him in the backyard. While her brother was a midfielder and only played intramurals in college, Christoph's early interest in the game was due to her brother.

'As kids, whenever a group of us got together to play soccer, we would all just run in clumps after the ball,' recalled Christoph. 'It wasn't really soccer; it was just chasing the ball.'

Christoph built on her soccer beginnings to become an accomplished defender for her club team and the two years she played in high school. When it came time to choose a college, Christoph was immediately drawn to WSU because of its head coach, Matt Potter.

While playing club ball in Arizona, Potter coached Christoph as a young player. Now Christoph along with about five other members of that club team, are again playing for Coach Potter in the crimson and gray.

'Matt is a good coach. He's always honest with his players, and he tells you up front about how things are,' said Christoph.

When it comes to games, Christoph is a person you want on the field. After starting 15 games her freshman season, Christoph has been on the field at the beginning of regulation every competition this year.

Christoph listens to a message from her dad before each match and puts on her gear from left to right.

'Being small, I have to play smart and read the game,' said Christoph. 'But really, it's fun being small and taking on the bigger players.'

Christoph proved her worth in the Cougars' final match of the 2007 season as she anchored the defense in a 2-1 victory over USC who is playing in the semifinals of the national semifinal of the Women's College Cup Friday.

No longer is Christoph running in a clump after a ball; she is a Cougar playing Division I soccer.

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