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By Owen Krucoff
Boyds, Md., (5/29/19) – Washington Spirit have been turning heads in the NWSL in the early part of this season thanks to an impressive run of results that has allowed them to already surpass their 2018 win and point totals.
While many have focused on the new additions to the team, such as the Spirit’s five first-round draft picks and new head coach Richie Burke, the Spirit’s old guard, the veteran leaders, have been just as influential in the Spirit’s hot streak.
One of those veteran leaders is forward Cali Farquharson, who despite being drafted by the Spirit just three years ago, has found herself to be one of the most experienced players on this young Spirit team. Since she is only a few years removed from her own rookie season, she understands the importance of being a role model for her younger teammates.
“Now that I’m a veteran, I’ve been here a few years, I kind of know the ropes and I’m able to help the younger girls because I didn’t necessarily have all the help I needed at their age,” Farquharson said. “I had to learn a lot on my own, so I hope I can be a good mentor to them.”
The Spirit drafted Farquharson out of Arizona State with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 NWSL Draft. Although she attended high school in Phoenix and remained in-state for college, she hasn’t always been an Arizona native.
“I was born in Japan,” Farquharson said. “Big military brat as a kid, lived in a couple of different countries growing up, but essentially, we had our home base in Arizona and I was raised in Arizona.”
Now that Farquharson has played in the DMV for a few years, she has noticed some of the differences between the soccer environments of the D.C. area and the Grand Canyon State. One notable distinction is the disparity in youth participation between the two regions.
“I would say the DMV has more soccer opportunities, especially for the youth,” Farquharson said. “In Arizona, there are one or two teams per age group and out here there are four or five [teams] per age group, and I think the competition out here is pretty elite especially with all the teams competing against each other.”
Farquharson has been an important depth asset for this surging Spirit team. She has appeared in five of six matches so far, including two starts, and provided the game-winning assist in a 3-2 win over Sky Blue FC on May 11. A current three-game win streak has lifted the team into a tie for first in the NWSL standings, and Farquharson says the team atmosphere has been key to that success.
“I absolutely love all the girls, we all get along, everyone is very inclusive,” Farquharson said. “It’s just a great team environment on and off the field, and I’m super excited to be on this team this year.”
The Spirit will look to continue their winning streak when they host Utah Royals FC in a battle for first place at the Maryland Soccerplex this Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET. [TICKETS]