By LUCAS MCCOY
Twins Ellen and Rachel Anderson have been playing soccer side by side together their entire lives. Throughout childhood, high school and travel soccer, they each were able to excel at the game they love by feeding off how the other played.
The thought of either of them playing at different colleges never entered their minds growing up. Now they are both juniors at Salisbury University and play important roles on the women’s soccer team.
Even though they play different positions—Ellen as a forward and Rachel as a defender—they are able to communicate in ways they cannot with others. They know each other’s game just like their own, and they know exactly what the other is thinking and feeling while on the field.
“They know how to push each other’s buttons and challenge each other through training,” SU women’s soccer head coach Kwame Lloyd explained.
“Both of them definitely encourage each other to be better than what they are, and I think that steps up their game every time they come to practice. The fact that they are on opposite ends, I think it’s more of the encouraging and challenging of each other that they feed off of.”
Playing two completely different positions on opposite ends of the field comes with two slightly different types of personalities. While the defensive player may be more intense and the offensive player might be slightly calmer during the game, in this case it is the opposite.
“Rachel has a very calm demeanor on the ball and doesn’t seem to get flustered very much, while Ellen is more intense in that she wants it and wants it now,” Lloyd said. “Definitely two different personalities. One is more soft-spoken and chill in Rachel, and Ellen is more outgoing and wants to get after it.”
Adapting to the college level is somewhat difficult for most, but with the help and support they provide for each other, Ellen and Rachel found it easy to transition. They have been there for each other through everything in soccer, especially this year when Ellen changed her position from goalkeeper to forward.
“Honestly, playing in college hasn’t been much different. [Rachel] has been there the entire time and she’s here now, it’s just at a high level now, obviously,” Ellen said.
“For me, when I went from goalkeeper to striker this year, she has always been there to help me out. It’s great to have somebody there that’s your same age that you can practice with at any time.”
Not many people are lucky enough to play a college sport with not only their best friend, but also their twin sibling. After playing together on the field throughout their entire childhood, there was no reason for them to change that when heading to college.
“It honestly is not weird for us playing together especially because we are super close. It never really came up that we would go to different colleges,” Rachel said.
“It was awesome just to have someone there that I already knew that I could always confide in. The fact that we’ve been playing soccer together on the same club team, at the same high school, it just made a lot of sense to keep playing together.”
Both of the twins know each other’s game just as well as they know their own. They know each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and most importantly can read each other’s emotions and thought processes. Some would argue that it is almost a form of twin telepathy.
“I always know where she is going to be and I always know her thought process. I can see her thinking of what she’s going to do, and I can kind of predict what it is going to be,” Rachel said. “Even just playing together at home, we just got so familiar with how each other plays so it has definitely been like almost a mental telepathy.”
The Anderson twins are a big part of Salisbury University’s women’s soccer team and will feature on the squad as the team continues into the 2017 season.
Be on the lookout in the future for another set of women’s soccer twins, freshmen Megan (forward) and Alyssa Brady (defender) who will be climbing the ladder up into larger roles in the coming years.