Meet Your Captains: Jackie Dawson and Jenilee Pabro

Well, Lady Corsairs soccer fans and those who still wish to convert, meet your faces: co-captains Jackie Dawson and Jenilee Pabro.

The two sophomores, two of the five on the current Lady Corsairs roster, were selected at the start of the season to act as mentors to a young team guiding themselves to compete for a Western State Conference Title.

Both Dawson, 20, and Pabro, 20, believed at the start of the season that the other would be named captain, only to have the two named co-captains. The two met during a scrimmage last year when Pabro was injured during the match.

"I messed up my knee and [Jackie] took me to the trainer's office. She cleaned me up," said Pabro.

"I didn't know anybody. That's how I got my nickname, 'Dr. Dawson,'" said Dawson.

Both took up soccer at a young age. Dawson started playing at five with her mother as her coach. Pabro's soccer career began when she was 11, as a product of both economic persuasion from her mother as well as a traumatic ballet incident that led her to pursue soccer to fill the time. Dawson played high school soccer at South Torrance High, and Pabro played at Royal Valley High in Simi Valley.

"When I came over here, I was afraid to talk to anyone and Jackie was the only person that was really talking to me," said Pabro.

After a tough 2007 campaign with the Lady Corsairs amassing only five wins, this year's team has a different level of play and commitment when compared to last year.

"I think when we're actually focused and when we're all playing together, we know how each other play now, so if we're down in a game, we don't give up. We rally together, and we're all on the same page," said Dawson.

"The best part has been creating all of these relationships. I've been on so many teams before, but this group of girls is amazing," said Pabro.

Being on the same page is a consistent theme when speaking with the co-captains. Both are finishing each other's sentences, recounting stories, and when asked where they both ate the previous evening following their 1-1 tie with Bakersfield College, they both paused for an equal amount of time to think before both realizing where.

"Chipotle," they yelled. "We shared each other's food."

Of course, with only five returning team members, the issue of youth counts as a concern when it comes to focus in preparation.

"The majority of our team is fresh out of high school, so every once in a while we get a little distracted. I mean, we're guilty of it too. We get distracted sometimes, but then you have to know when its appropriate and when its not," said Pabro.

However, for the amount of new players on the roster, the focus has not wavered during the 2008 season, as the Corsairs currently rank 15th among California community college soccer teams.

"It's wonderful to watch because we did not get that last year. No one really cared if we won or lost last year and this year everybody wants to win, everyone wants to work hard, and everyone wants to be here for each other to win," said Dawson.

Pabro is a nursing major who plans to transfer to a number of schools, including Loyola Marymount University, Mount Saint Mary's University and UCLA. Dawson, who dabbled with the idea of kinesiology as a major, has decided on psychology as her major, with medical school in her future.

"My favorite part is, at any college, whether its junior college or university, you're kinda just by yourself. You're on your own; you have to do your own thing. Sometimes you may not feel like you make a difference at all, but being on a team like this, you know that there's somewhere that you make a difference. If you're not there, you're noticed that you're not there. You're needed there because you do a specific job on the team, whether its cheering people on, getting five minutes in the game or the entire time in the game, you're needed on the team for something. You're needed to be a part of an organization, to be a part of the team, so you feel important. I feel important whenever I come to practice."

The two arrived for the interview wearing their Lady Corsairs T-shirts, and the enthusiasm for the team is apparent even in their manner of dress.

"I love wearing this around school. It's just something to be proud of. You know when you wake up in the morning you know you're going to make a difference," said Dawson. Pabro's response to her shirt is more blunt:

"You're on the soccer team? Hell yeah I am!"