In advance of No. 4 Stanford women’s soccer’s (8-0-2) first weekend home series of conference play, Ashley Westhem sat down with fifth-year senior defender Kendall Romine to discuss her career on the Farm and the team’s prospects for the rest of the season.
Ashley Westhem (AW): What have you noticed to be the strengths and weaknesses of the team this year compared to last year?
Kendall Romine (KR): I think the team is very fit this year. We train really competitively day in and day out, and every girl, whether she’s injured or fighting for time on the field, we’re all putting in the work. Right now…we want to win the Pac-12 and the next step is to win the national championship. We’re very focused and determined to do the best that we can. Since we all know the tactics of soccer, just trying to improve our communication on the field and develop that network where we have better chemistry than any other team [is important].
AW: Since the hope for this season is to go on a national title run, how does the start of this season compare to that of 2011, when the team last won the national title?
KR: My redshirt freshman year we had a pretty amazing season. Defensively, this year we have started off a lot stronger. Only conceding one goal has been amazing, but in terms of the road [ahead] I think we went undefeated the whole  season and had one tie so I know that that’s the standard and expectation. You don’t necessarily have to have a perfect slate to win a national championship, it’s how you’re peaking at the end [that matters], but the fact that we’re undefeated right now, we’re on the right track. I know that this team can do it and has the talent, its just going to be a matter of coming out and playing our best soccer.
— NCAA (@NCAA) September 29, 2014
AW: What team that you have yet to play on the schedule is your biggest competition?
KR: All Pac-12 teams are competitive and know our style of play, but UCLA is going to be a huge test for us. We’re both in the top four in rankings and we want to prove that we can hang with them and that we’re better than them. That’s in two weeks and that will be one of our biggest challenges but also an exciting game.
AW: Is there any team that you are looking forward to meeting up with once tournament play starts?
KR: I always like to play the ACC teams. I think any of those teams, whether its Florida State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, I’d like a shot at them because the ACC is a very strong conference but I think the Pac-12 is also a very competitive and great conference and so its great to match up against them and play our soccer and hopefully get the result.
AW: What factored into your decision to stay for a fifth year? How has that decision played out?
KR: There was a moment [last year] where I was thinking that I could go on and just start real-world life, but when it came down to it, I love playing soccer and I love my teammates. More than anything I just wasn’t quite ready to hang up my cleats and I wanted to have another chance of going out and finishing on top. Last year was not our best season and I definitely don’t want that to be my final memory as a college athlete. I’m so glad that I decided to stay. The team has this great culture going this year and everyone is putting in the time and work and it’s a really fun group to be around.
AW: How is your time at Stanford different now that you aren’t a full-time student since you completed your international relations degree last spring?
KR: I’m here mostly as an athlete, rather than a student. It’s been fun to choose classes that I normally wouldn’t have had the opportunity to take because I’m finished up with most of my degree. It allows me to dedicate more of my time to soccer. [It’s been about] trying to just get better every single day and get the most out of my final season. And I am thinking about the next step of if I’m going to continue pursuing soccer or just look for a job; it’s a moment where in this time and in the next few months, I can put everything aside and just think about soccer and it’s awesome.
AW: Since you majored in IR, you were required to study abroad at some point. How were you able to balance soccer and studying abroad and what was the experience like?
KR: We are really lucky that we are allowed to go abroad since the winter is our offseason. I was fortunate to go to Chile and it was one of the highlights of my Stanford experience. Everything from having a really incredible host family, to really immersing myself into the culture and also getting to travel to some of the most exotic and beautiful places in the world was truly incredible.
I turned 21 when I was in Chile and so that weekend, we traveled down to Pucón. It ended up being one of my favorite weekends in South America. We hiked a volcano that was halfway covered in snow and we were using ice axes to get up the volcano and when we got up to the top, the view was incredible. We could see lakes, various volcanoes in the distance and we got to ride down in a toboggan-type sled. I was there with two of my former teammates, Natalie Griffen and Taylor McCann, and so it was just a blast. It was an adventure that I would never have…been able to do in the United States.
AW: If you could give a piece of advice to the freshmen on your team in terms of academics and athletics, what would it be?
KR: Get to know your professors because they’ve done amazing things and often times have great connections, whether its leading into an internship or further research. In terms of classes, I would definitely broaden the horizon and take different classes because it might lead you in a different direction that you’ll fall in love with. Definitely think about doing summer internships but if you don’t do it after sophomore year, don’t worry; there’s plenty of time.
In athletics, I would really try to better yourself and make an impact. Just because you’re a freshman or a sophomore doesn’t mean that you can’t play a big role on the team…Jane Campbell this year has had a huge presence and its really helpful. So don’t be afraid to speak up because we all know the game and have a voice.
Women’s soccer plays next at Cagan Stadium this Friday at 8 p.m. against Washington and again Sunday at 1 p.m. versus Washington State.