Lauryn and Leyna Wood are identical twins. They do everything together, including play soccer.
When they were 11 years old, they signed up for the same soccer team. The two soon realized they had the talent to go along with their passion for the beautiful game.
“I remember one day we came home from school and told our mom we wanted to play soccer; she was so happy that the first thing she did was sign us up for the American Youth Soccer Organization. Ever since then, I haven’t lost the love and passion I have for the game,” Leyna said.
Both were excellent high school players, and when the time came to select a college, they wanted to stay together and play for the same team. But things didn’t work out.
When the rejection letter came from Oregon State, they were devastated.
Unsure of what they should do next, their high school coach Terryn Soelberg, who is an assistant coach at Santa Ana, convinced the twins that playing for a community college would improve their chances for a scholarship.
“When Oregon State didn’t work out for us, Soelberg said, ‘come to SAC, and we’ll get you to a better school,’” Lauryn said.
The Wood sisters soon took the pitch for the Dons, with each earning a spot on the OEC All-Conference First team. Things worked out.
Trying new techniques and playing different positions, Leyna’s talent began to shine, finishing the season with 12 goals, and nine coming in conference play — including four game-winning goals.
“I came in thinking I was going to play one position, but they had me all over the field, and I didn’t expect that, and I got more interested in playing other positions,” said Leyna. “Next season, I’m hoping that they put me all over the field again so that I can get more technical and stronger.”
Lauryn had suffered a knee injury while competing at University High School, and it held her back from reaching her full athletic potential this season.
“I have been playing the whole year injured, and I didn’t feel confident,” Lauryn said, “I want to have a stronger second season and be more assured going into tackles, and go into games knowing that my knee won’t give out”.
Despite her knee troubles, Lauryn was a valuable asset for SAC scoring seven goals during conference play, along with one game-winning goal and four assists in the OEC.
Although they are in sync on the soccer field, the identical twins have their differences, from their academic majors to their sense of humor and even the way they interact with their friends.
Leyna, quiet and reserved, is interested in biochemistry and is thinking about medical school. While Lauryn who is outgoing and open wants to become a personal trainer.
Both say that their freshman year at SAC has brought them closer to reaching their goal.
Additional reporting by Dorian Zavala