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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Winning ways

    UA defender Amy Steiner searches for a teammate during a 2-1 Wildcat overtime win against California State Northridge Sept. 21 at Murphey Stadium. Steiner, a true freshman, has appeared in 10 of Arizonas 11 games this season.
    UA defender Amy Steiner searches for a teammate during a 2-1 Wildcat overtime win against California State Northridge Sept. 21 at Murphey Stadium. Steiner, a true freshman, has appeared in 10 of Arizona’s 11 games this season.

    It’s been said time and time again that winning is contagious.

    If that’s truly the case, then the Arizona soccer coaching staff found a goldmine in defender Amy Steiner.

    Throughout her prep career, winning was simply a way of life for the Colorado native. Despite changing schools in the middle of her high school career, Steiner still managed to be named a team captain on her first team at Fossil Ridge High School and took home a 5A Colorado State Championship with her second at J.K. Mullen High School.

    But the state championship was only the culmination of her high school success.

    Steiner’s winning ways began in 2005 with her club soccer team, the Colorado Rush, which took home three Colorado State Cup Championships over a four-year span, all while being a finalist in the remaining year.

    Steiner and the Rush also played for titles in the Disney Showcase in 2005 and 2008 – with a win in the latter year – in addition to winning another championship at the Las Vegas Showcase in 2007.

    “”She’s definitely had terrific experiences,”” UA head coach Dan Tobias said of the freshman. “”She’s always been on teams that have had champion-style goals, so she’s a worker and being involved in that at the youth level means she’s gone up against some pretty tough opponents.

    “”Those kinds of experiences are really helpful, especially making that transition as a college freshman,”” Tobias added. “”Those are things she can draw on throughout her first year here.””

    Not only has Steiner’s success at the youth level given her experience, it has also instilled something invaluable within the young defender.

    According to Steiner, being so used to winning is more than just a desire, but rather something she expects to do wherever she plays – including Arizona.

    “”(The success) makes me want to come in here and do the same thing with this program,”” Steiner said. “”I really want to get a national championship and be successful with every program I get involved in.””

    So far this season, Steiner has already made an impact on the Wildcats’ early success by becoming an anchor for Arizona’s defensive backfield, which is otherwise filled with upperclassmen.

    With appearances in 10 of the Wildcats’ 11 games thus far, the freshman has been an integral part of the Arizona defense, which has posted five shutouts and allowed .727 goals per contest.

    Despite being the youngest regular player on the Arizona defense, Steiner said her comfort level has been fairly consistent, due in part to her experience as a team captain while just a freshman at Fossil Ridge.

    “”It gives me some confidence coming in here with much older players,”” Steiner said. “”I’m not the captain here, of course, but (being a captain in high school) gives me some leadership experience so I’m more comfortable and my confidence is up.””

    While her poise at the collegiate level may be what Steiner expected, her teammates said they have been pleasantly surprised by her maturity so early in her career.

    “”She’s very calm and collected out there,”” said defender Sammy Tiampo. “”It’s easy for freshmen to get really nervous and choke up. But she’s really consistent, she’s a solid player.””

    For how effective Steiner has been through the first half of her freshman season, it’s hard to believe there was any doubt on the part of the Arizona coaching staff prior to bringing her in.

    But according to Tobias – despite the pleasant, yet driven personality of Steiner – he was not immediately sold on his young prospect, mostly due to her size.

    “”I was honest with her early on and I told her, ‘You know, I’m not sure right now, I need to see you play some more,'”” Tobias said of his early encounters with Steiner. “”But then (associate head coach) Lisa (Oyen) went and saw her play and told me, ‘You need to go see her again.’

    “”So I went back and saw her and then (assistant coach) John (Galas) saw her play and the more we all saw her play the more she impressed us,”” Tobias added.

    At 5-foot-3, Steiner did not carry the appearance of an intimidating, collegiate-bound defender, but according to Tobias, that’s just another thing she has overcome thanks to her championship-level experience as a youth player.

    “”(Steiner) has made herself into a very good division one player,”” Tobias said. “”The thing that’s a challenge for her is that people look at her stature and say, ‘Oh she’s not very big.’

    “”But we just told her she just has to be that much smarter, in that much better position and really work that much harder,”” Tobias added. “”And through these first (11) games, she’s done a really good job.””

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