Normally, the pressures of a new environment can often overwhelm freshmen athletes.
Freshman forward Cali Farquharson is an exception.
Born in Japan on an American military base, Farquharson is no stranger to change, and the freshman has quickly established herself as a key part of the ASU women’s soccer team.
Farquharson moved to Arizona during the fourth grade and has excelled in club, high school and now collegiate soccer.
ASU coach Kevin Boyd recognized Farquharson’s talent early.
“I was a big fan of her for a number of years,” Boyd said. “We kept pushing her until she made the decision to be a Sun Devil and we are absolutely thrilled and fortunate that she decided on us.”
Farquharson has started every game except one at forward for the Sun Devils, and the freshman has looked comfortable on the pitch, tallying three goals and an assist so far this season.
Farquharson scored her first two collegiate goals in the Sun Devils’ 4-0 victory over NAU earlier this year and Boyd again praised her abilities on the field.
“She’s a goal scorer,” Boyd said. “She’s going to cause opponents fits. She just has a special way of finding the back of the net, whether it be on the ball, off the ball, with her head or with both feet. She’s a really special player.”
Farquharson’s talent doesn’t go unnoticed by her teammates, either.
Freshman defender McKenzie Berryhill played club soccer with Farquharson in high school and knows first-hand how exciting of a player she is.
“If you’ve seen her play, you know she’s amazing,” Berryhill said. “As a freshman, with what she can already do, she’s special. I think if she just keeps going, she’s going to be one of those players that you just want to watch all of the time.”
Surprisingly, Farquharson didn’t receive lots of college offers, but her heart was always set on staying close to home and playing for the maroon and gold.
“One of the biggest reasons I stayed was (because of) home,” Farquharson said. “When I went on other visits, most of the girls weren’t happy because their friends and family couldn’t come watch them play. They didn’t have great support systems, but that’s what I have here in Arizona.”
A strong support system for Farquharson is necessary, as the freshman is continually adjusting to the collegiate game.
“College soccer a lot more competitive,” Farquharson said. “The demands are much higher. The level of play is higher, the girls are bigger and I’m playing against girls who are three and four years older than me who have much more experience than I do, and all of that ties into the transition.”
Boyd believes Farquharson hit the “September Swoon” and the workload has taken a toll, as Farquharson is scoreless in her last five matches.
“I think her transition has been very good in some ways, but has followed a very normal freshman routine,” Boyd said. “She came out of the gate great and scored some goals early on and then she hit that mid-September fatigue level.”
With October quickly approaching, Boyd is confident Farquharson has moved on from her mini-slump and is ready for the Pac-12 season.
“I’m hoping now that she can get back to that level and play her best soccer yet,” Boyd said.
As for the future, the “slippery” Farquharson will likely become the face of Sun Devil soccer, a role Boyd knows the freshman will have to grow into.
“As a person, she is incredibly humble,” Boyd said. “She doesn’t know how good she is, which is both a good and bad trait. I would like her to carry a bit more swagger in knowing that she’s better and special, but it’s good that she is humble.”
Farquharson knows what she needs to accomplish before assuming a high leadership role on the team.
“I just want to get better both technically and tactically,” Farquharson said. “I want to score more goals and I want to be more of a threat on the field.”
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