For Wake Forest goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, soccer has always been a family affair.
As a goalkeeper at St. Ursula Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio, Aubrey led the Bulldogs in back-to-back Ohio state championships during her sophomore and junior years, even posting 11 shutouts during her junior season in 2008.
While racking up awards (including All-State honors in 2009), Aubrey had her self-proclaimed “number one fan” by her side the entire time: her twin sister, Amber.
Amber, a goalkeeper at Brown University, was also a standout player at St. Ursula Academy, where the younger twin played as both a forward and a goalkeeper.
Though the Bledsoe sisters played for the same high school team, the two split up and played for different club teams, seeing as they were competing for the starting goalkeeper position.
“I would kind of root for her to do bad so I would get more time,” Aubrey told espnW about the difficulties of playing on the same team as her sister.
Prior to her junior year in high school, Aubrey traveled to Winston-Salem, N.C., with some teammates to attend a camp run by Wake Forest University.
“From her three days or four days of camp she was here, her work ethic, you could just see how serious she was about what she was doing and the potential,” Wake Forest head coach Tony da Luz told espnW about Aubrey’s visit. “We saw the potential.”
Over the next few months, Aubrey wasn’t heavily recruited by many top schools, but since da Luz had already seen what she was capable of, he made sure she’d come play for him.
Under da Luz, who has been coaching the Wake Forest women’s soccer team since 1997, Aubrey played 94 matches (starting all 94) and made 290 saves over four seasons.
The goalkeeper registered a Wake Forest single-season record of 14 shutouts during her impressive sophomore season, which saw Cincinnati native register 84 saves in 26 games.
“I don’t think there’s any limits on what she can do as far as getting to the national team because she keeps getting better and better,” da Luz said.
In fact, Aubrey has gained some attention from U.S. Soccer.
The goalkeeper’s first experience at the national level came in March 2010, when she was invited with the U.S. Under-18 team to the Ten Nations Tournament in Spain.
The U.S. U-18 team finished its three-match tournament with two wins and a loss, and Aubrey’s most impressive match saw the goalkeeper record a shutout against the U-19 German team.
Aubrey’s next experience at the international level came 19 months later, when she was invited to the U.S. U-23 training camp from Oct. 2-7, 2011 at the Home Depot Center.
The 24-player roster included current senior women’s national team stars such as Sydney Leroux, Meghan Klingenberg, Crystal Dunn and Christen Press.
Though Amber Bledsoe hasn’t been offered the same opportunities in soccer, she isn’t at all bitter about the attention her twin sister has received over the years.
“I’m extremely proud of my sister,” she said. “It’s just really fun to watch her go places and do things with soccer.”