Sports Sophomore soccer star Johnson never backs down Rachel Johnson has been a competitor her whole life, on and off the soccer field. “I come from a pretty competitive family,” commented Johnson. “I am the second oldest of six and I have always been in friendly battles with my siblings. That’s why I want to always be the best.” The 5-foot, 2-inch sophomore defender from Utah is more than meets the eye. While she may not be the tallest on the pitch, she has never let it prevent her from winning and coming out on top. BYU-Hawaii’s women’s soccer coach, Carolyn Theurer, noted Johnson’s ferocious play. “She has always played consistent in the back,” said Theurer. “She’s very quick and dependable. While she may be one of the shortest on the team, she always plays up to anyone taller than her. She’s been solid ever since she was a freshman.” Playing at high intensity is something that came naturally for Johnson, even at an early age. “Ever since I was little, I loved playing soccer,” said Johnson. “I remember being really fast and being able to dribble and score goals.” Johnson’s speed and talent only increased as she learned to play new sports growing up. “I did gymnastics when I was younger,” said Johnson. “That helped me learn how to do a flip throw-in.” Johnson is one of the few who has mastered the much-admired flip throw-in, the aerial maneuver that sends fear into every 10
Rachel Johnson, sophomore from Utah and defender for the Women’s Soccer Team, sprints for the ball during a game. Photo by Leisa Tapia.
player’s eyes and makes the crowd “Oo” and “Aa.” One of her most memorable soccer moments came from hurling the ball from the sideline, using one of her flip throw-ins, all the way into the opponent’s goal. “When I was in high school, I scored off a flip thrown-in,” recalled Johnson. “I threw it right over the keeper’s head. It was pretty cool.” While attending Riverton High, Johnson excelled on the women’s soccer team. She was named Region-3 MVP in addition to being Team MVP and being selected for the Second All-State Team. While attending Riverton, Johnson also ran track, a great cross-training sport for soccer to improve speed. “I ran the 100, fourby-one, long jump, medley, 200 and 300,” said Johnson. “We did really well and took state in track my senior year.” Fitting for a track athlete, Johnson’s sports hero is track star and Olympic Gold Medalist Marion Jones. “I like her because she is quick,” said Johnson. “She takes her performance to a
greater level with every meet. She is a winner.” Johnson credits her parents, Steve and Patrece, for much of her success. “They have always provided me with opportunities and given me great encouragement to be the best I can,” she said. One of the statements Johnson lives by was offered to her by her mother: “I can do hard things.” Such words ring in her mind when facing off against tough opponents on the field or taking on a challenging exam for school. Johnson doesn’t back down from any challenge. Fellow teammate Chloe Ence, a sophomore from Idaho majoring in biochemistry, reaffirms Johnson’s fine capacity to accomplish difficult tasks. “Rachel brings great defense to our team,” commented Ence. “She is always positive and works really hard. Not only do I trust her to keep opponents out, I trust her with my very life.”
–J E SSE MANSCILL
September 30, 2010 Kite Festival Issue