Senior soccer player Kristen Dodson has been kicking a ball ever since she could walk. After being involved in numerous sports while growing up, she knew soccer was the sport for her after her parents asked her which sport she wanted to focus on.
“I started playing soccer around when I was three,” Dodson said. “I actually started kicking a ball when I started to walk just because of my older brother. It was always just a sport I played, it didn’t matter what other sports I was playing, it always came back to soccer.”
Dodson coincidentally comes from a soccer family. Although neither of her parents played, Dodson and her two brothers found themselves playing and even all making it to the collegiate level.
“I think it was a little bit of both˜– of coincidence and influence – that we all ended up playing soccer. We ended up all being good enough to play at the collegiate level, but there was definitely an influence,” Dodson said. “I think that with our competitive nature, even though they’re both boys, I can still compete with them. I think that it kind of drove us all to do well.”
Dodson’s older brother, Ryan Dodson, played soccer at Denver University, University of North Carolina and professionally, while her younger brother, Derek Dodson, currently plays soccer at Georgetown University.
While her older brother was a big influence, it all began with her parents wanting Kristen Dodson to be as involved as possible and putting her into sports early on in her life. Although it was a coincidence all three play soccer, her older brother was an early influence on her.
“I think it was my older brother who helped start my soccer career, but it was also my parents actually putting me in soccer,” Kristen Dodson said. “I loved that they put me in other sports as well, so that it was really my choice to pick soccer. It was never a pressure or anything. Neither of my parents played, so it wasn’t something where I had to play soccer. My older brother and I would just play around a lot in the backyard, so I think it was a little bit of both.”
The Dodson’s parents didn’t always push for her to be involved in only sports. Her parents believed it was important that her and her siblings be involved in anything. She even played an instrument while figuring out what she wanted to do growing up. Her parents’ motives for her and her siblings were that they needed to get out of the house and do something.
“It was more of just wanting me to get out and do something, and not just wanting to sit around and watch TV and play video games,” Kristen Dodson said. “They wanted us to get out there and be active. It didn’t matter if it was sports, arts or music, they just wanted us to get out of the house and do something.”
The Dodson’s parents put her in almost every sport they could. She played basketball, softball, tennis, ran track, danced, did gymnastics and even spent some time cheerleading all before she decided soccer was what she loved.
When Kristen Dodson reached middle school, her parents asked her what she liked and what she could see herself continuing to play. That’s when she decided to zone in on one sport: soccer.
“I just enjoyed soccer the most out of all the other sports I played. I didn’t focus on anything on the outside world while playing soccer,” Kristen Dodson said. “It was just me, the field and my teammates, and I think that was something that was big.”
Dodson’s parents have been her rocks and her biggest supporters. She believes that when facing adversity, her parents are the ones that are truly there for her. When asked who has helped shape her as a person the most, she confidently believes it’s her parents.
“My parents have just been so supportive from the beginning,” Kristen Dodson said. “They didn’t really care about the numbers or our wins or losses. They just wanted me to do my best and control what I could do. They were just so supportive and wanted me to have fun. They’ve worked so hard to get to where they are. Everything that they’ve been able to give us is a blessing. I look up to them, and I hope to be as good of a parent as they are one day.”
Since being at Auburn, she has been awarded and honored as All-SEC First Team in 2016, National Player of the Week (Sept. 27, 2017), NSCAA All-South Region in 2016, SEC Player of the Week (Sept. 26, 2016), on the SEC Preseason Watch List in 2016 and Top Drawer National Team of the Week twice (Sept. 27 2016, Nov. 23, 2016).
“What I’m looking forward to most this season is just being able to play with this team one last time,” Kristen Dodson said. “I’m excited to see all the things we’re going to do. I’ve had a lot of great memories playing here.
“I think winning the Florida game and going to the elite eight has to be one of my favorite memories though. We made history, and that was so cool to be able to experience that.”
So far this season, Kristen Dodson has played in 11 games with five goals, three assists and 13 points, bringing her total to 26 goals, 27 assists and 79 points in her career at Auburn.
Her goals for her senior season are to push it this season and make it that step further in the conference rankings, the conference tournament, and potentially the NCAA tournament.
“I think you always want to go a step forward than you did before. Those are my goals at least,” Kristen Dodson said. “I think those are all things you build towards, so I think those are the biggest goals for me this year.
“Individually I want to be able to contribute as much as possible. It’s not necessarily as much about the numbers, as it is how much I can to provide the results. Just playing my best and contributing as much as possible are my personal goals.”
Following this season and graduation, Kristen Dodson plans on taking a year off to get her direct patient hours. She is majoring in exercise science and will need to complete 2,000 direct patient hours to apply to graduate school to become a dermatologist PA. Last fall, Dodson was on the dean’s list.
“I was very excited that I got the dean’s list last fall, especially since it was while I was in season,” Kristen Dodson said. “I think it’s a really big deal for any athlete to be either Top Tiger or on the all-academic team all three or four years.”
During her soccer career at Auburn, Kristen Dodson has enjoyed the bond she’s shared with her team the most. It impacted her decision a lot when deciding to come to Auburn.
While making that decision, she realized that Auburn had three things that were very important to her: a great soccer program, great coaches and a special team bond.
“The fact that I’m a senior, and I’m still here makes me confident that Auburn was the perfect school for me,” Kristen Dodson said. “I was blessed to fall in love with this school and stay in love with this school. The team chemistry and the coaches helped out a lot with that. They’ve both been fantastic all four years, so I couldn’t have picked a better school.”