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By Owen Krucoff
Boyds, Md., (6/12/19) – Being a professional athlete requires personal challenges and sacrifices, whether they be on the field of play or in one’s personal life. Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe knows this as well as anybody, having played all over the country and the world since she first left her Cincinnati home after high school. But no matter where she goes, her family is never too far away.
“It’s tough being away from them, but I have a great family who travels very far to visit me,” Bledsoe said. “I had my mom come out to Australia two years in a row now, my sister and brother-in-law came out, and my younger brother came too.”
Bledsoe began her college career in 2010 at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and has since played for teams in Los Angeles, Norway, New Jersey, Denmark, Florida and Australia before arriving in Washington. This past offseason, she earned the Westfield W-League’s Goalkeeper of the Year Award as she led Sydney FC to an Australian league championship.
“I’ve got a great host family who I love in Sydney, and they welcome me with open arms,” Bledsoe said. “So that makes the transition smoother and makes me less homesick, and it’s great having family across the world. It definitely keeps me going and is part of why I enjoy the game so much.”
Perhaps what keeps Bledsoe and her family so connected is their common passion for goalkeeping. Bledsoe’s twin sister, Amber, played the position in college at Brown University, and her younger brother, Micah, plays at the USL League One level with South Georgia Tormenta FC.
Bledsoe said that she and her siblings use their camaraderie to hear each other on the field in addition to providing moral support.
“I spend a lot of off-seasons now playing with my brother,” Bledsoe said. “He’s a great training partner especially, he reads the game a little differently being a male keeper. Usually after every game I can expect a text from him with a little bit of critique or some praise.”
As you might expect from a group of three siblings following the same pursuit, relations weren’t always this peachy, especially when they were much younger. But according to Bledsoe, these friendly rivalries helped them all learn to strive for excellence and get to where they are today.
“We were all super competitive in everything we did,” Bledsoe said. “Definitely soccer, but not just that. Basketball, dodgeball, kickball in the backyard, even with school, and it really just brought the best out of me and my siblings.”
Bledsoe has been dominating in net lately for the Spirit, leading the NWSL in saves and earning a place in the league’s Team of the Month for May. Washington may physically be much closer to home than some of the other destinations in her pro career, but she knows that makes no difference to the people she loves most.
Bledsoe and the Spirit will return to action on June 15 with a road matchup against Reign FC. Kickoff in Tacoma, Washington is set for 10 p.m. ET.