Sibling Rivalry: Over 1,200 miles from home, Portland Thorns FC's Danielle Foxhoven & Timbers U-23s Zack Foxhoven still compete like it was their backyard
Often times, the greatest source of support for an athlete is family. As players move on to more advanced levels of competition, they usually travel far from the familiar confines of home. But for Danielle and Zack Foxhoven, not only is family nearby, it’s in the same organization.
Colorado natives, Danielle and Zack are currently playing for Portland Thorns FC and the Portland Timbers U-23s, respectively. Danielle played her collegiate soccer at the University of Portland, and returned to the Rose City after a short stint with FC Energiya Voronezh in Russia. Zack recently finished his junior season at the University of Louisville, where he scored five goals in 20 games, and is playing for the Timbers U-23s of United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (USL PDL) during the collegiate offseason.
Like many siblings, their relationship growing up was one of a competitive nature. They talked about their daily backyard battles and trying to one-up each other in club games.
“Every day we’d play out back on the basketball court, we’d play soccer tennis,” said Zack, a 6-1 forward who played his first two seasons of college soccer at powerhouse UCLA. “She was my biggest motivator growing up. We had the biggest competitions.”
“We both played soccer and played in the same club,” said Danielle, who ranks fourth all-time in points (139) at the University of Portland. “It was always like ‘This Foxhoven is doing this and this Foxhoven is doing this. Which one can get results for their team?’”
Danielle is the older of the two and came to the University of Portland when Zack was still in high school. Zack said he would visit his sister in Portland as often as he could, and that he has always liked the area. When it came time to find a PDL team to play on for the summer, it was an easy choice.
“I’ve always liked Portland,” Zack said. “And knowing that she was up here kind of helped me make my decision.”
“College players now, they’re always looking to play with a PDL team,” said Danielle. “This year, since I was here, he was like ‘Absolutely, why not be with my sister?’”
The two are very supportive of each other, and make it to most of each other’s games.
“I think I’ve been to every single one that he’s had here,” said Danielle, “and he’s been to most of mine.”
Playing for different teams means different training and travel schedules, but the two say they find plenty of brother and sister time.
“Being so close makes it so easy to go get a bite to eat or go hangout every now and then,” said Zack. “It’s been really nice.”
Both have had successful starts to their seasons. Danielle has appeared in ten games for the Thorns , and Zack has made eight appearances across all competitions for the Timbers U-23s as of June 18. Keeping their competitive streak alive, Danielle has three goals in 2013 while Zack has two.
When asked who would finish the season with more goals, Zack was careful not to give his sister any bulletin board material.
“That will be a good competition,” he said. “We’ll see.”