COLUMBIA — If you watched Michelle and Kendra Collins play soccer, you wouldn’t know they were sisters.
Although they both play the forward position for the Missouri women’s soccer team, they possess different strengths. Michelle Collins, a senior, describes herself as the quick one, while Kendra Collins, a sophomore, said she provides the strength.
The Missouri women's soccer team plays against Rhode Island at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Walton Stadium.
“She’s so fast, and I’m more physically strong,” Kendra Collins said. “I’m also a little stronger foot skills-wise, but she has the touch on the ball to beat people.”
According to Michelle Collins, their personalities are also different.
“We always joke around that we’re in the opposite bodies,” Michelle Collins said. “I act like I’m the big mean one and she’s the gentle giant, and its always been like that.”
Despite these differences, the sisters maintain they get along better than ever before. Both said that their relationship has grown since playing together at Neuqua Valley high school in Naperville, Ill.
“Being the oldest sister I have the tendency to be a little overbearing like back in the day when I thought I knew better since I was the older one,” Michelle Collins said. “I just didn’t realize that as a player she needed to grow on her own. Coming to college, I think the separation of two years helped her learn to appreciate me, and I started appreciating her for being who she is.”
When Michelle Collins first transitioned to college soccer, Kendra Collins adamantly refused to attend Missouri with her sister until she saw what the program and coaching staff had to offer.
“I was so against it at first, and my dad took me to visit as many places as possible, but my mom loves Mizzou and she was secretly pushing it,” Kendra Collins said.
Kendra Collins said her mom particularly appreciated head coach Bryan Blitz, and in time, so did she.
"He does such an awesome job with recruiting and helps you feel like you’re already a part of a family,” Kendra Collins said.
Blitz maintains that he recruited Kendra Collins not because of her sister, but because of her soccer skills.
“We love family, but we have a job to do,” Blitz said. “I first told her, ‘We’re recruiting you whether you’re Michelle’s sister or not.’ Initially, Kendra was very apprehensive, and I said, ‘No, we like you and you have to be good enough to play for us’ and, once she understood, she was very excited we were recruiting her.”
Kendra Collins got a chance to contribute for the Tigers during her first season and was named to the All-Big 12 Conference newcomer team.
“Earlier in the season I was the one starting, but I got injured early and so she played instead and that was cool to see my little sister take over my spot,” Michelle Collins said.
In May, Michelle Collins will graduate, leaving her sister with some personal goals to achieve.
“My goal is to be that impact player,” Kendra Collins said. “Just because I come off the bench, I don’t want the defense to take me lightly, and I want to be a stronger player so next year when my sister and the other seniors graduate, we’ll still have a dominating offense.”
According to Blitz, the sisters add to the team’s goal of being a family.
“I think they have a special bond because they’re sisters,” he said. “It’s a different dynamic, but it adds to our theme of becoming family. I think they all try and think of each other as sisters, and it’s just an added bonus that they actually are.”