After a tough season last year — the Clan only won two games — the women’s soccer program needed something, anything, to lift their spirits. They seem to have found that in freshman twins Christina and Allyson Dickson. The two have been instrumental in helping the team climb from the bottom last year to, at publication time, fourth in the GNAC standings.
I immediately started the interview by embarrassing myself and confusing Allyson for her sister Christina. They weren’t surprised — people confuse the two all the time. “You kind of get use to it,” says Allyson.
Also unsurprising was their claim that the two have played together for almost their entire lives. “We’ve been playing soccer since we were five,” Allyson says. “We’ve always been on the same team.”
“I think it started [a] good chemistry when we were younger,” adds Christina. “We’ve always been on the same teams, so we’ve had similar experiences as well. And we usually play similar positions, so we’re always near each other on the pitch.”
Christina is currently ranked second in the GNAC in goals, an even more impressive feat considering she just recently started playing as a striker. “I used to play as a centre back during my youth career,” she reflects. “And then two years ago, I kind of switched, just because of the numbers at the time. We had a lot of defenders and we needed more forwards. Our coach put us both as forwards one game and we scored, so he said we could stay there.”
Allyson switched from defence to midfield around the same time. “I broke my collarbone when I was playing defence, so [Christina] got switched in for me. That’s why she started playing defence. And then we both got moved forward.”
It’s not always easy for freshman to integrate themselves into a new team, but both Christina and Allyson seem to have done just that, both starting nearly every game for the Clan this season. “It’s been pretty easy,” Allyson says. “All the girls on the team were super welcoming.”
“The atmosphere they create is really welcoming as well,” adds Christina.
“We’ve always been on the same teams, so we’ve had similar experiences.”
So what’s it been like to be a freshman on a relatively inexperienced team? “We’re not lacking experience, but we don’t have as much experience, just because of the young team,” explains Allyson.
“The experience is not going to come [during] first year,” notes Christina. “You’ve got to work towards that, so that’s what we’ll build later on.”
The duo have quickly become key members of the squad — perhaps the perfect example of this being Dickson’s recent hat trick against St. Martin’s University. She scored three goals in nine minutes, which is an unofficial school record.
“I don’t know, I think the thought process hit me afterwards,” reflects Christina. “During the game, it was kind of like, you’re in the moment [. . .] Afterwards, you kind of look back and reflect on it.”
“I thought the first one was supposed to be a cross,” Allyson remarks on her sister’s achievement. “Because I was on the bench at the time, and everyone was asking me. ‘Did she actually mean to shoot that?’” The answer to that question, it turns out, was no.
“It worked, though,” Christina laughs.
The twins had offers from other schools, but chose to come to SFU because of the school’s inclusion in the NCAA. “We had offers from UBC and Trinity Western, but what attracted us to the program was the NCAA,” explains Allyson. “That was a big selling point — as well as the great academic stuff.”
Both Allyson and Christina were very active growing up, playing multiple sports. “All through high school we played basketball,” remembers Christina. “We also did baseball and gymnastics when we were younger.”
“Probably around 10 years old is when we started concentrating on soccer,” Allyson remarks. “We started taking it more seriously, so more training sessions every week. We had to let go of gymnastics and baseball and just focus on soccer.”
The goal for the Dicksons, as well as for the entire women’s soccer program, is to eventually emulate the success that the men’s soccer program has had since moving over to the NCAA. “A goal for this year that me and some of the other girls had was to make the GNAC top four,” Allyson says, adding: “It’s totally reachable.”
It remains to be seen if the women’s soccer team will reach the goals it has set for itself, but one thing is for certain: both Christina and Allyson Dickson will be key components of the team for years to come.