In Their Own Words: Afton Sauer

Nov. 13, 2007

Throughout the course of the 2007 season, members of the <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas soccer team will share their thoughts in the first person. Today, senior defender Afton Sauer speaks about what her four years in the Crimson and Blue have meant to her and what brought her to KU.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

On what turned the season around:

“The Colorado game really turned things around for us. We had some other wins before that, but being that we lost to them pretty bad last year, I think turning that around, built a lot of confidence for us. It proved to us that we could beat a good team.”

On returning to Colorado to shut out the Buffaloes in October:

“It was just fun to play in front of family and friends. I think I had about 20 people there. Most of it was family. I was really nervous (before the game). Just everyone you know is there, and you feel like you have to play well for them. I was really nervous, but I loved playing in front of family. In the beginning we weren’t doing so well, but we turned it around.”

On starting 83 straight matches in her career at KU:

“Honestly, it doesn’t really mean much. I’m just glad that I get to play. It’s cool to think about it, but it’s kind of sad at the same time, because you never know when it’s going to end. I don’t know how it happens. Just luck and staying healthy, I guess. A lot of that is thanks to (athletic trainer) John (Zirkelbach). I feel really lucky to not have had to go through some of the injuries that some of my teammates have.”

On longtime friend and teammate Kelsey Archuleta:

“She’s been through so much, and stuck through it all. With all of the injuries she’s had, any season she could have bagged it and been done. She’s been a real inspiration. Everytime I come off the field at halftime, she’s always like `are you okay?’ `do you need anything?’ It’s an inspiration to play for everybody on the bench. I haven’t taken hat I’ve got for granted. I know there are other people who would have loved to be in my position.”

On not playing on the same team as Kelsey Archuleta next year (after playing high school and college together):

“It’ll be a little weird, I think. We’ll stay friends. We already decided that we’re going to play in an indoor league together next year. So, we’ll keep playing together. She’ll be in my wedding someday, and I’ll be in hers. It’ll be fine. It’s kind of sad that soccer is over, but we’ll be fine.”

On what brought her to Kansas:

“I loved the environment at KU. I had been to other schools, and I didn’t feel like it was a homey environment. As soon as I came to KU, I felt like I was at home. You kind of get a feeling right away that this feels right. The team seemed like they were really close, and I knew that if I was going to be away from home, I needed to have another family somewhere else. The team showed me that we were going to be a family. Also knowing that Kelsey (Archuleta) and Colleen (Quinn) were looking there was a comfort too. I felt like if I committed (to KU), maybe they would as well. It was a lot easier to go in with people that I already knew. I actually got in trouble with some of the schools who recruited me, because I committed pretty early. When I called them to tell them that I had committed, some of them were pretty mad.”

On how she got into soccer at a young age:

“I played other sports growing up, but soccer was the first one I really played on a team. One of my best friends growing up lived on my block, and her dad was a youth soccer coach. He wanted his daughter to play on the teams, so he was always like `come play’. That was actually when I was three. I just really liked it.”

On the end of her college career:

“It’s kind of scary and sad to think about something you’ve done for so long and it’s almost over. I’m not going to have to go to practice every day. I think I’m going to still try to play during the summer. I don’t think I could go without playing soccer.”

On how she’s going to be remembered:

“I hope (the coaches and the fans) say that I was a very committed player. That I would do anything for the team and I always put the team first. And hopefully they’ll say that I was a good leader.”