Missouri soccer player has personal connection to team's Play for Pink game

Friday, October 19, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
Missouri senior soccer defender Allison Hu, left, and freshman Brittany Conley run to get control of the ball during practice Thursday at Audrey J. Walton Stadium in Columbia. The Tigers will wear pink jerseys to raise breast cancer awareness Friday evening against Arkansas in Columbia.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri soccer team will be sporting pink uniforms Sunday afternoon in support of breast cancer awareness, but the gesture will mean a little more to senior defender Allison Hu. 

Hu’s mother, Tina Hu, discovered a lump in her breast eight years ago on Allison’s birthday.

After five years of treatments, she has been officially cancer-free since 2010, and Allison Hu has a new outlook on life.

“It’s hard to see someone you care about suffer, and I hope some day there can be a cure so that other families don’t have to go through that,” Allison Hu said.

Missouri’s Play for Pink game is a small step toward the cure. Players will wear all pink uniforms with pink wristbands and even color their hair in the name of breast cancer awareness.

Wearing pink on the field “adds to the excitement” for Allison Hu, but Sunday’s contest against LSU also looms large for a different reason: It will be her last home game.

Senior day will also be celebrated Sunday, meaning an already emotional afternoon will include a goodbye to the most seasoned Tigers.

Missouri plays its last regular season game next Thursday at Texas A&M then begins a postseason that will hopefully include an National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament run in early November.

Allison Hu is not too worried about closing this chapter of her life. She has big academic aspirations. It’s why she came to MU in the first place.

After two seasons of stellar play for Saint Louis University, she decided to transfer for her junior year and pursue a pharmaceutical career. The graduate program at MU is tough to get in to — and lasts four years — but the honor roll student has her mind set on a degree. It runs in her blood, after all.

Tina Hu, an X-ray technician, has three sons in the medical field. She hoped her daughter would pursue different interests.

“We tried to steer her toward other things, but she knew what she wanted to be,” Tina Hu said.

On the field, Allison Hu’s resume is impressive, as well. A four-time all-state defender in high school at Duchesne High School in St. Charles, she was selected by the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame as a Future Star after her junior year in high school. She also earned big playing time during her two years at Saint Louis University.

At Missouri, her accomplishments are also remarkable. She’s started all 37 games since arriving and played every minute of every match for a defense that has propelled the Tigers to a 13-3 record and national recognition in 2012.

Tina Hu has been to every one of her daughter’s games this year — home and away — but she says Sunday’s match will be the most emotional as Allison Hu winds down a career that began when she was only 3 years old.

When asked about her daughter’s best trait on and off the field, Tina Hu decided on a quality that Allison certainly gets from her mother.

“She’s so determined,” Tina Hu said.

Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.

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