Athlete of the Week: Hillary Zevenbergen

  • By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
  • Thursday, May 10, 2012 8:42pm
  • SportsSports

School: University of Washington

Class: Junior

Sport: Soccer

Hometown: Woodway (King’s High School)

What she did: Scored UW’s lone goal in a 3-1 loss to the Sounders women last Friday. Zevenbergen, who had four goals and three assists for the Huskies last fall, scored her goal on former UW goalkeeper and national team star Hope Solo. It marked the first goal Solo has allowed in the exhibition season. For video of the goal, click here.

What’s next: The Huskies closed out their spring schedule of exhibition matches with a 1-3-1 record after Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Oregon State.


It appears that you’ve gained a little unexpected fame this week. True?

Yeah, it’s super exciting. I’m still kind of in shock that I got a goal, but it’s been crazy. Everybody has been coming up to me saying they’ve seen the highlight of it online. It’s crazy.

Are you tired of talking about the goal you scored on Hope Solo yet?

No. I’m still kind of in disbelief. It’s super-exciting still. Every time I’m talking with my teammates, we all get excited again.

Can you give us a breakdown of the goal?

(Lindsay) Elston gave me a perfect ball right outside of 18 (meters). I made a “J” run through the box, and I saw Hope out (of the goal), and I knew I had a little window of hope to get through for a goal. I slid and kicked it as hard as I could and got the goal.

Now that you’ve scored on one of the best goalkeepers in the world, scoring on college netminders should be easy.

Well, I don’t know. It gives a boost of confidence when you play against players that are so good. Four players on (the Sounders) played on the national team. So they were really good. I’m just happy I got a chance to play against them.

What did you and Hope talk about after the game?

I was still kind of star-struck. I saw her before the game, and I knew I wanted to get a picture taken with her. Goal or no goal, I wanted to get a picture. She was super nice.

Did you talk to her about the goal?

No. (Laughs) I think I just froze up.

Wow. You really were star-struck.

Oh, yeah. Totally. I’ve seen Hope before, like at team banquets and stuff, but it’s a totally different atmosphere when you’re playing against her. And I watched her on “Dancing With the Stars,” as sad as that sounds. So it was crazy.

You didn’t challenge her to a ballroom dance-off, did you?

Definitely not.

That’s not your arena, huh?


You come from a pretty athletic family. Your father and brother are rowers, while you have a sister, Hayley, who plays soccer at Yale, and your mother played basketball at UW. Are you a pretty competitive group?

Um, we’re competitive to a point. As long as we’re having fun playing sports, that’s my family’s goal. I was never pressured to follow in my sister’s footsteps and play soccer in college or anything like that, but that’s what made me happy.

Is there any truth to the rumor that your sister had to settle for Yale because her grades weren’t high enough to get her into UW?

(Laughs) Oh, yeah. We’re always getting into arguments. My sister’s husband went to Yale, too, so we’re always getting into arguments. My parents went to U-Dub, too, so it’s always Bulldogs versus Huskies.

It says in your bio that your father earned a bronze at the 1980 Olympic Games. Didn’t we boycott those?

Honestly, I don’t really know the details of that. I’m not the right person to ask.

Does he ever talk about it?


But he still has the medal?

It’s kicking around somewhere.

So what’s better — an Olympic medal, or scoring on Hope Solo?

Oh, my gosh. It’s a tossup. I’m just really excited I did it. I’m still in disbelief. But a bronze medal is pretty good too.

I read in your sister’s bio that she went to King’s High School but played soccer at Edmonds-Woodway. Why were you able to play on the King’s team?

King’s didn’t have soccer yet, so she played at Edmonds-Woodway. Then when I was a freshman, that was the inaugural year for soccer at King’s High School.

OK, I have to call you out on a couple things in your UW bio.


Favorite song: “It’s Raining Men”?

Oh my gosh. I did that freshman year. I was just trying to have a little fun with it.

So it’s not on your iPod?

It’s definitely on my iPod, I have to admit.

Do you listen to it before matches?

No, not really. (Laughs) I like the song, though.

And your celebrity crush is Zach Galifianakis?

I think he’s so funny. He’s totally my favorite.

You just gave hope to hundreds of scraggly, slightly overweight UW undergrads who are going to be asking you out in the coming weeks.

(Laughs) Yes!

Oh, the difficult life of a celebrity …

Oh, yeah. Guys have been lined up around the block to ask me out on dates. (Laughs)

Scott M. Johnson, Herald writer

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