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Photo Credit: Tony Quinn/ISI Photos
By: Kerin Maguire
Midfielder Tori Huster‘s hard work and intelligence in the defensive midfield have been a crucial element to the Spirit’s success over the past four years. But, as is true for most of the best defensive players, that hard work can easily be overlooked without the ability to quantify her impact through goals or assists.
The Ohio native has been with the Washington Spirit since its inaugural season in 2013 after the team selected her with its second pick in the 2013 NWSL Supplemental Draft. She currently holds the record for most appearances for the team with 75 and counting.
The Florida State product comprises a key element of the Spirit core, not only on the pitch as a midfielder, but also off the pitch as a veteran leader. She is one of just three players on the roster (the other two being defender Ali Krieger and midfielder Diana Matheson) who have experienced both the lows of the inaugural season when the Spirit finished last in the league, as well as the successes of reaching the playoffs in both 2014 and 2015.
Prior to joining the Spirit, Huster made numerous appearances for the U-23 United States National team, including the Four Nations Tournament in 2010, where she helped the U.S. team to victory. After a strong 2014 season with the Spirit, she was called up to the senior U.S. Women’s National Team for matches in France and England in February 2015.
“Some people would consider me a veteran player now as opposed to in year one or year three. That’s strange for me,” said the 26 year old who is still getting acclimated to her seasoned status. “What I’ve always tried to do is lead by example. If I’m working as hard as I can maybe that can inspire someone else to do as hard as they can too. That has always been my go-to: my work ethic.”
One important player she tries to impart her work ethic to is her younger sister, Maddie Huster, who is on the Spirit Reserves roster.
“I think when I was younger I didn’t take advantage of that knowledge that I had to give to [Maddie] when she was younger and developing. Now I have tried to do that as much as possible.”
At the end of the day, Huster wants to be the best she can be for her fellow teammates, developing players, fans, and everyone around her.
“If I can stay as consistent as possible, that is going to help the team the most and that is ultimately what I want to do here. This is home and this is Spirit family.”
She is also quick to point out that the Spirit roster has no shortage of leaders.
“There are so many good role models on the team who really step up, and I am learning from them,” she said.
With a chant dedicated solely to her red hair (OG 23, original ginger) and her name on signs and jerseys in the stands, it is easy to see the impact Huster has had on the Spirit organization over the years.
“I think it is really cool to have [the fans’] support although I am not this huge big name player or anything,” she said after a recent home game. “I think they’re so funny and so clever. It’s really cool to see my name on some of those signs.”
With each passing season, Huster is ready to prove that her impact on the field and dedication to the team only strengthens.
This Saturday, Tori and the rest of the Spirit will face Sky Blue in a rematch from last weekend. The back to back games will provide a chance for redemption for the Spirit. The game will also be the last home match until September. For tickets, visit our website tickets.washingtonspirit.com