When freshman midfielder Aurrianna Parker and freshman defender Brianna Parker left their hometown of Las Vegas for Philadelphia to join Temple University’s women’s soccer team, they did not know anyone but each other.
“It has been like bringing a piece of home,” Brianna Parker said. “I definitely felt homesick, and I know that I could not have gotten through that without my sister because it felt like I brought something familiar with me.”
Aurrianna and Brianna Parker have always maintained a close relationship, but their bond has strengthened through their time spent on the field together from youth soccer, all the way to the college level.
In high school, they always liked the idea of playing together in college, but both thought it was unlikely they would be recruited by the same school and did not want to limit potential scholarship offers by being strictly a package deal.
It was not until they met Owls’ head coach Nick Bochette at the Lady Owls Elite Prospect Camp that staying together for college seemed like it could become a reality.
“We wanted to recruit both of them,” Bochette said. “They are two different players, but it just so happened that we were looking to fill both of their roles and they are both just happy, agreeable, coachable and team-oriented workers.”
It has been that coachability and willingness to learn that has allowed Bochette to feel comfortable giving them minutes as freshmen, he said.
Aurrianna Parker has played 151 minutes during five games this season and recorded a shot on goal during her first college appearance against Binghamton University on Aug. 21.
Despite logging just 11 minutes this season, the Owls believe Brianna will still prove to be a vital part of the team’s goals moving forward, Bochette said.
“Forwards and midfielders get substituted more than defenders,” Bochette added. “That is a big reason as to why Aurrianna has played more minutes at this point, but we are really high on both of them, and we think that they both have a very high ceiling.”
Both sisters credit their time spent at Faith Lutheran Middle and High School, a private boarding school in Las Vegas, as the main reason they are close today.
While at Faith Lutheran, Aurrianna and Brianna needed to learn how to battle through adversity both on and off the field without their mother’s guidance. They leaned on each other and finished high school closer than they were before, Aurrianna said.
“Our mom has always been our biggest supporter,” Brianna Parker said. “She has done everything for us and sacrifices a lot so that we can live the life that we live, so when we lived independently without her, we were learning and maturing, and we became closer through that.”
In the Owls’ matchup against Binghamton on Aug. 21, the sisters shared the field together at the college level for the first time. It was a moment that reminded them that their hard work had paid off.
Despite being more than 2,000 miles from their hometown, Aurrianna and Brianna Parker knew from the minute they stepped on campus that Temple was the place they were supposed to be, and when times get tough, they both know exactly who to turn to.
“I don’t think I would be able to play without my sister,” Aurrianna Parker said. “When I have difficult times on the field or I feel like I’m not playing well, I can hear her voice and I can hear her guiding me and it really helps.”