After wrapping up her Cardinal career as a four-year starter, NSCAA first-team All-American and captain of the Stanford women’s soccer team, Rachel Quon was drafted into the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) by the Chicago Red Stars, where she has played every minute of the Red Stars’ first five games. Last week, the outside back was called into Canadian national team training camp—a surprising move considering that Quon had previously been a part of the American youth national system. Canada will take on the United States on June 2 in Toronto, but as of Thursday night Quon has not yet received a release from FIFA allowing her to represent Canada in the match. Quon spoke to The Daily from Toronto to discuss her change in allegiance, her transition into professional soccer and her planned return to the Farm.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): Can you explain how you ended up in Canadian camp?
Rachel Quon (RQ): I’ve been a dual citizen ever since I was born—my dad’s from Canada and it’s always been an option. I was fortunate enough to be with the US team [before] and I’m really thankful for that stage. After talking to my coaches and my family, I couldn’t really turn this opportunity down. Canada is a great team and I eventually just want to play at the international level and I hope I can make an impact on this team.
TSD: How do you think it’s going to feel to play against the United States next week?
RQ: Right now, it’s being processed [with FIFA] so it’s kind of up in the air if I’m going to be able to play. But obviously being against the United States—they’re the number one team—it’s going to be a great game. It’s in Canada, so it’s a good opportunity to play in front of a Canadian crowd and it’s just kind of getting into that environment.
TSD: What are your ultimate goals for your soccer career?
RQ: I’m just taking it one step at a time, kind of showcasing myself to the coach here and the team here—hopefully I can contribute and go from there. My goal in the future is to play at the international level and play against the best, hopefully in the World Cup—that would be my ultimate goal but I’m just kind of taking it one step at a time right now.
TSD: Why do you think the Canadian national program gives you a better chance at doing that?
RQ: Like I said, I talked to all my coaches and the coach here. [Canada] needs outside backs and they play a system where they want to keep the ball—a style of play that I like. They want to play good soccer and have attacking outside backs and hopefully I can contribute to that.
TSD: Switching to the professional league, how has your experience been with the Chicago Red Stars so far?
RQ: It’s been great. It’s definitely different from college. It’s the first year for the NWSL, but the soccer is definitely better, the speed of play is quicker, more physical and the women have more experience. So it’s great to be learning from all of them and to be playing at a top level for a whole season, which is really good for seeing what it’s like to play with international players.
TSD: How did your time at Stanford prepare you for professional soccer?
RQ: Stanford was just a great foundation. [Women’s soccer head coach] Paul [Ratcliffe] and my teammates and the rest of the coaching staff really prepared me to play quickly and simple and I think that’s what it comes down to in soccer, just knowing what you can do and being confident. At Stanford, that’s the way we wanted to play and we wanted to keep the ball. Playing at the top level and being under pressure at multiple Final Fours was definitely great preparation for that.
TSD: What has been the hardest part of the transition?
RQ: I mean, it’s definitely just a lot quicker and more physical right now. And getting to know new players—it’s the first year of the league, so the team is totally new, so we’re just trying to get to know each other, our instincts and strengths and weaknesses.
TSD: Did you graduate from Stanford already or are you still working on that?
RQ: I took spring quarter off but I’m coming back in the fall and I will be helping with the Stanford team as an undergraduate assistant and then I’ll be done after that.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Contact Jana Persky at jpersky‘at’stanford.edu.