Being on the same team as a sibling is something many never experience. For Joana and Janaina Zanin, they were on the same soccer team in high school and now college.
Their dad was a professional soccer player in Brazil and, they said, had them kicking the ball as soon as possible.
Joana Zanin said she decided to come to USD, so she could be close to home, however, she also enjoyed the culture of USD.
Having her sister at USD made the choice to play for the Coyotes easier, Janaina Zanin said.
“No matter what, it’s going to be that sister bond,” Janaina Zanin said.
Seeing her sister wear Coyote red at games and going to camps, Janaina Zanin said, helped make USD feel more like home.
They spent around 4 months at home together, Joana Zanin said, looking forward to making their way back to Vermillion.
“When COVID started it was kind of a setback, last year our soccer team, and for me personally, was doing really well and we were excited to come back and kick some butt,” Joana Zanin said. “I was ready to come back and get back to reality.”
The soccer team, like a lot of the other sports, has to wait until the spring for their season due to COVID-19 postponements of fall sports.
Now the soccer team is treating this semester like the spring, Joana Zanin said, by building up their strength in themselves and as a team. The team, Joana Zanin said, is also using this extra time to learn how freshmen play and add to their team,
While the girls get along on and off the field, Joana Zanin said their relationship is more than just what people see.
“There’s competition there, but we know we both push each other. We know we both try to make each other better so it kind of evens out,” Joana Zanin said.
On the field and off the sisters are continually trying to make themselves better.
“If we aren’t meeting that standard, we hold each other accountable on and off the field,” Joana Zanin said.
Whatever comes their way, whether it be COVID or a bad game they can get through it together, Janaina Zanin said.
“Whether on or off the field our bond is the same. We like to be goofy and push each other for greatness,” Joana Zanin said. “Honestly, I love it, just having my sister on my team. Not many people get to say they got to play at a high division program with their sibling.”
Joana and Janaina Zanin both said they will always be there for the other sister, no matter what.
“I never felt like my sister was a threat to me, I’ve always been the person that helps her out,” Janaina Zanin said. “We always have each other’s backs, no matter what.”