CSUN women’s basketball: Thomson’s soccer skills beneficial

Michael Johnson

Matador sophomore guard Amanda Thomson (right) is averaging 6.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. Photo Credit: Patrick Dilanchian Contributing Photographer

Move over Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol there is a new defender in town. Her name is Amanda Thomson from the CSUN women’s basketball team.

There is no coincidence that two of the best defensive players in the NBA come from soccer backgrounds. Thomson  said how the game of soccer has helped her become one of the best defenders on the Matadors squad.

“Soccer was my background for all aspects of my game in basketball because I have played both since I was five,” Thomson said. “Because I was a soccer player, I’ve always learned to be really aggressive on defense in basketball.”

The Seattle, Washington native’s defensive background is not much different from some of those in the NBA.

Soccer and basketball blend together with ease. Both require tremendous movement and take a scrappy defensive mentality to play both sports. Also, the two sports require players to be in incredible shape to be a great defender.

The sports demand a tremendous amount of discipline and technique to play on the defensive side.

However, one crosses over more than the other. Having soccer skills like Bryant or Gasol seems to help a basketball player become quicker and a better defender-unless you’re Steve Nash.

Thomson, a sophomore guard, is only 5-foot-9, however, that does not stop her from taking on the top defender from the Matadors opponents.

“I have a lot of fun stopping them because it makes me feel like I’m helping my team in a big way,” Thompson said. “I’m just looking to be more aggressive and get on the floor a lot and dive for more loose balls.”

She is not the tallest or fastest defender in the world like a Bryant or a Gasol, but she has great technique, which Thomson credits her parents and coaches.

“My coaches when I was younger and my dad were behind me 100 percent and always believed in my skills,” Thomson said. “He would tell me don’t ever quit and don’t give up and don’t let anybody ever get you down.”

Thomson wants to continue to take the skills she has learned from soccer and continue to apply them to basketball and to be the best defender in the Big West.