By Michael Lewis
The score line of the Rochester Lady Lancers’ lone goal in their 4-1 loss at the Connecticut Rush on June 6 might have looked a bit strange to many United Women’s Soccer fans.
W. Hudson (W. Hudson)
Did this player Hudson pass to herself?
Actually, it was the work of two sisters who are playing competitive soccer together for the first time this season.
For the record, Winsom Hudson scored the goal off an assist by her younger sister, Waniya Hudson.
Now, that is something we don’t see in soccer every day.
While many siblings have played together, but it is rare for sisters or brothers to combine on a scoring play. Especially ones who are so many years apart and haven’t had an opportunity to play together in competitive matches before this season.
Winsom, who is 27 and seven years older than 20-year-old Waniya. They both grew up in the Rochester suburb of Greece, N.Y. Both are listed as forwards on the Rochester roster.
“I love it. I really do enjoy playing Waniya just because we motivate each other,” Winsom said. “Even during the practices, she’ll yell at me, and I’ll yell at her. So, it’s definitely fun to have her on the same field as me because I think that we have like a good understanding of how each other plays, as well.”
Ditto for Waniya.
“It was a really cool opportunity, especially growing up watching her play soccer for like years before I even started,” she said. “I like watching her play like. She basically is what led me to play soccer because I was always running around … during games. That really pushed me to play.”
Both sisters come from an athletic family. Their father, Woodruff, played basketball at the Rochester Institute of Technology, while their mother Wanda ran track at Nazareth College. Older brother Woody played four years at St. Lawrence University and has performed for the Indy Fuel and Worcester Railers in the East Coast Hockey League.
Winsom Hudson (Photo courtesy of the Rochester Lancers)
Winsom participated in several sports as a kid, including track and field, tennis and figure skating.
“It came down to just figuring out which sport I wanted to do,” she said.
She started playing in a rec league.
“They actually had me as a goalkeeper, which was pretty interesting, but that did not last long because I used to just take the ball and just dribble down the field,” Winsom said with a laugh. “I think they saw right here that I was not supposed to be the goal. I just fell in love with the sport.”
Winsom went on to earn All-Greater Rochester soccer honors at Aquinas Institute and played at Buffalo State and Roberts Wesleyan College.
Her most memorable moment?
Years ago, when she played with the Junior Rochester Rhinos during the Region I championship game. The winner qualified for the nationals.
“It was very hot, and I scored the winning goal,” she said. “I’ll never forget that because all the parents [were] just around the field. My teammates were excited. I was excited because I honestly didn’t see myself scoring the winning goal. I was dead tired.”
Waniya Hudson (Photo courtesy of the Rochester Lancers)
Waniya was influenced by watching her sister play competitively.
“She was a great role model because we would out on our own and just kick the ball around,” she said. “Me, not knowing what exactly I was doing. she would like to point stuff out. … That really helped me. Watching her play in games was really cool, because I’m like, ‘Oh look, that’s my sister out there like, doing her thing on the field.’ ”
Waniya also got to do her thing on the field as well. She competed in the Greater Greece Soccer League and Empire United. She twice earned AGR honors and all-New York State accolades while starring at Greece Athena High School. She will be a junior at the University of Notre Dame this fall.
Her most memorable moment?
When Waniya played as a center forward for Athena, scoring the winning goal against Penfield.
“There was like a second left in the game, so that was pretty cool,” she said.
And oh yeah, that reminds us, about the sisters’ scoring connection.
The Hudson sisters already could read each other’s minds because they had played together before in local adult rec leagues.
“We play very well together because Waniya is a very good passer,” Winsom said. “She’s a good teammate all around. She’s a great defender. It’s just that connection that we have on the field is just we don’t even have to say anything. We know how each other plays. She knows how to play the ball on the ground to me. It’s really something special.”
Waniya started the sequence with a long throw-in in the 89th minute against the Connecticut Rush in 90-degree temperatures.
“We just made eye contact with each other, and basically she was just like run, just run,” Winsom said. “As soon as she threw it, I just chased it down to the defender who was shielding the ball and I just toe poked it into the net. It was pretty awesome.”
Added Waniya: “I just knew that she would get it.”
There was no special celebration.
“We didn’t really want to celebrate because winning games mean a lot more,” Winsom said.
“I actually threw my hands up,” Waniya said. “I was so tired. We actually got one. The first goal while in an actual competitive game, too. So that was pretty cool.”
Both women are expected to suit up for the Lady Lancers (0-6-0), who host the Albany Rush (1-3-1) at Charles A. Schiano Sr. Field at Aquinas Institute on Sunday at 2 p.m. It is the first game of a doubleheader as the Lancers men welcome the Erie Commodres for a National Premier Soccer League game at 5 p.m.
For Winsom, the home games are played on her high school field, so she was familiar with its nuances than her teammates.
“Huge turf field, but I get to sprint on [it]. So, it’s perfect for me,” she said with a laugh.
The Lady Lancers enter the match hoping to record their first win of the season.
“We’re just working together to be more of a team,” Winsom said. “Obviously we want to win some games, so I think the most important thing is just to stay positive through setbacks.
“Even though we haven’t won a game doesn’t mean that we’re not going to win. So I think it’s just very important to stay optimistic.”
Winsom, who works in sales for Paychex, would like to attend law school. She is preparing to take the required tests.
Waniya, who is working at a local fast-food restaurant this summer, is a major in professional sports medicine at Notre Dame.
“I would love to continue playing but [I want to] also help people injured or have to go through recovery, helping them be able to continue playing and teaching others how to like work your bodies and what’s good for the body, what’s bad for the bodies,” she said, adding that it would be “pretty cool that I can impact someone’s life by like just helping them continue playing the game that they love.”
Right now, Winsom and Waniya Hudson are continuing to play the game they love.