BOULDER - From the pros to college, high school and youth levels, it's not an uncommon practice to have teams select their own captains. The University of Colorado women's soccer team is no different.
"A goalkeeper is a natural leadership position, so there are a lot of captains who are goalkeepers on various teams," head coach Danny Sanchez said.
It just so happens the Buffs have two -- in sophomore Jalen "JJ" Tompkins and junior Scout Watson.
"It was clear. Just about every player voted for both Scout and JJ, and not only that, they were either one or two on everyone's ballot," Sanchez said of the team vote.
Two goalies. Both captains? Where have you ever seen something like that?
"I think it's unique in a sense that I've never seen it before," Sanchez said, "but now that we're in it, it doesn't seem very unique. It just seems like those are the natural two leaders of the team and they should be the captains."
The goalies will admit, other coaches and players have asked how it works. From the outside, it's hard to understand, especially because only one of the two captains can be on the field at a time.
"As we all know, only one goalkeeper plays at a time," Watson said. "I don't know, I think we just work really well together and we have since we've both been here."
"Now you set the example for the rest of the team, you have a leader, a captain that half the time one of them isn't going to be playing and not even stepping on the field," Sanchez said. "But they're still going to be a leader and represent the team and the university at the highest level."
If it were any other team, maybe it would be more awkward. But Tompkins and Watson have found a way to make it work while pushing each other to be better in the process.
"Every day, we bring it," Watson said. "We never take an off day. There's always a good competition every day in practice."
"We support each other. We're probably the most healthy, competitive relationship out there," Tompkins added. "I just think of who we are as leaders, and that's what I think about when I think about why we were named captains. I think Scout is an amazing leader. She's done great, and I'm happy the team thinks I'm a leader too."
Their mature attitudes may stem from their relationship off the field. In addition to sharing the net and 'C,' the goalkeepers are friends. This year, they are roommates, along with some other soccer teammates.
"We live together so we're always together, so we have a really good relationship," Tompkins said. "It helps that we're on the same page."
"We spend like, almost every minute of the day together," Scout added.
To the CU soccer goalies, it doesn't matter whether one plays the rest of the season or they continue to split time. These Buffs have put their team first, and as long as the wins keep coming and they continue to grow, they're content.
"I've always come in with the mindset that I want the team to win, no matter what. If that means I'm going to sit out and that's the best thing for the team, that's fine with me," Tompkins said. "And Scout has the same mindset."
The University of Colorado women's soccer team defeated Arizona State 3-0 on Thursday. They will play Arizona on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Golden Buffaloes hold an 8-5-3 record thus far in the 2017 season.
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