Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications
Freshmen athletes rarely get the chance to prove themselves in college. Forward Micaela Castain's talents placed her with the lucky few when she played in all 20 matches her freshman year and started in 19 of them.
Now a junior, Micaela continues to use her talents, leading the Cougars soccer team with eight goals this season.
Growing up in Castro Valley, Calif., Micaela played sports like basketball and softball, but her parents encouraged her to try soccer, too. Micaela soon fell in love with the sport.
“I liked it the most out of everything,” Micaela said. “Then when I got to high school I knew that’s what I really wanted to do in college.”
Micaela and her twin sister Morgan played soccer in high school and even started together at WSU as freshmen. Morgan now plays for Fresno State. Her sister and her parents inspired Micaela as she continued her career.
“My parents always pushed me to strive for my goals,” Micaela said. “That’s what really pushed me to keep playing.”
Developing her soccer skills, Micaela said the forward position on the field came naturally. She said she has always played there, but would also love to play defense.
Micaela said the WSU soccer team experienced a major change this year: new head coach Keidane McAlpine.
McAlpine took the position of head coach after Matt Potter, who now coaches at the University of Oklahoma, left.
Micaela has been on the team for three years and was a welcome surprise to McAlpine when he started at WSU.
“Micaela is one of our most skilled players,” McAlpine said. “She has a very good nose for the goal, and as you’ve seen in the Pac-12, other teams have keyed on her. She draws attention, which gives other people a chance to create some chances and score some goals.”
Besides having the skills necessary to play a collegiate sport, McAlpine said Micaela has the attitude that fosters a winning team.
“She’s a very lighthearted person, and our team personality is easygoing and fun anyway,” McAlpine said.
Considering Micaela’s Cougar soccer career, she ranks second in school history for game-winning goals behind Kim Lynass (1990-1993), a WSU 2012 Hall of Fame inductee.
Rank does not mean everything to Micaela, though.
“My focus is not on scoring goals mainly,” Micaela said. “I just want to help my team, but I think that we’re going to continue winning games and our goal is to make it to the tournament.”
Overall, Micaela said she could not be happier with her team’s chemistry. As best friends and practically sisters, the team tackles every situation on and off the field, she said.
“We have good team chemistry, and I go to the soccer house probably every chance I get,” Micaela said. “I just think that we’re all so goofy with each other that it makes the team chemistry better.”