Last week, the Arizona Wildcats were blanked by 10th-ranked UCLA. Playing a new position, Amanda Porter did what she could to push back against UCLA. The left center back attempted a pair of shots against a tough Bruins squad.
“They had a really strong defense,” Porter said. “So, when I did go in at forward, it was really important to make those moments count.”
The sophomore has started all 13 games for the Wildcats this season, totaling 946 minutes.
She has no goals on the year, but has attempted 23 shots. As a freshman, Porter played 927 minutes, which she has already surpassed. Last year, she had three goals, including the game-winner against rival Arizona State.
Porter and the Wildcats will host Cal on Saturday night at Mulcahy Stadium. They’ll attempt to continue a four-year undefeated streak against the Golden Bears.
“We know that they’re going to come out hard. We want to come out harder,” Porter said. “We just have to go out there and be dangerous.”
Porter grew up in Littleton, Colorado, and attended Columbine High School. Porter says her high school experience was shaped by her school’s effort to bring the community closer together.
Students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 students and one teacher in a 1999 shooting rampage at the school.
The mere mention of Columbine evokes tragedy, but Porter experienced something different.
“After the tragedy, our previous principal really made it a community there,” Porter said. “It was just a really tight-knit high school experience and everyone supported each other.”
Porter has seen the same support from her new team at Arizona, which she describes as a tight-knit group that constantly encourages one another to be better. She said choosing the UA was an easy decision.
Porter had a highly decorated high school career on both her club and school teams. She was a three-time first-team and all-state selection and was captain of her high school team twice.
In club ball, she helped lead her team to nationals in 2014 and 2017.
Her love of soccer began at a young age.
“My older sister played soccer so I would always just tag along to her practices,” Porter said. “When I was 3 and she was 8, I’d always just go in a practice with her team. My parents told me I always had a ball at my feet.”
However, Porter’s sister, Allison Gneiser, is reluctant to take the credit.
“For a long time, she played on boys teams and was always the best player,” Gneiser said. “She excelled in possession of the ball and had a strong left foot, which is uncommon.
“She has always been talented but truly seeing her become a leader on the field has been amazing.”