Philadelphia Independence keeper Val Henderson gives a behind-the-scenes take of everyday life with the WPS expansion club. In the latest installment, Val talks about how two former collegiate rivals are a happy tandem in the pros.
Watching Amy Rodriguez and Danesha Adams tear it up together last weekend against Sky Blue FC, you never would’ve thought they’d once been enemies. (Okay, maybe “enemies” is harsh, but I think fitting for the UCLA/ USC rivalry). Watching the two play, you would’ve thought the two had been attacking partners for years. “Here, Danesha, have a goal.” “Oh thanks Amy, now you have one.”
Just four minutes into the game Amy got endline and slipped the ball to Danesha who buried it in the back of the net, making her first touch of the game the go-ahead goal. It didn’t take long for her to return the favor, as she took Tina DiMartino’s pass and played a through ball to A Rod who was able to beat their keeper and make it 2-0 Philly.
Our bench was elated. (Embarrassingly enough I jumped on our coach after our first goal - not only did I just about knock him out, but I also somehow ran around my teammates to get to him. After that I gathered myself and hugged the players, keeping it to safe high fives for the remainder of the game). Anyway, A-Rod and Danesha’s cohesiveness was a beautiful thing for the Philadelphia fans. Everyone wants to see the two up top getting the job done. But reflecting on their teamwork, I couldn’t help but remember the former rivalry and feel momentarily nauseas: “Trojan passes to Bruin;” “Bruin passes to Trojan.” Whattt?? Two years ago when the two were facing off at the NCAA Final Four I doubt they ever would’ve expected to be combining for goals in the professional league.
But really it’s seamless how we get over the old rivalries. Former foes become today’s tandem. A melting pot of Penn State, Virginia, UCLA and USC to name just some of our universities, we come together to make one fine-looking Philadelphia Independence team.
And last weekend especially with four of our five internationals away, we knew it would take a full team effort to beat the defending champions on their home turf. So we took care of business, sharing the love all over the field. Four goals from four different people, our yellow jerseys and blue collars spoke louder than any collegiate past.
Still, with goals from Dimartino and Danesha, UCLA still had two goals to USC’s one. So Bruin fans walked away with two victories on the night.
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