Get to know freshman Ashley Pafko
Name: Ashley Pafko
Position: Forward / Defense
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Blaine, MN
What about Minnesota made you decide that you wanted to be a Gopher?:
I choose Minnesota because it was always my dream to play soccer for my home state. The University of Minnesota is a place that I feel will prepare me for success on and off the field. Along with a great soccer program, they have an excellent computer science program. I also want to help bring a championship to the university.
What is special/different about this team?:
Whenever this team is together, it is always a fun atmosphere. The coaching staff and players are great. We are all very competitive with each other in practice and games, pushing ourselves to become better soccer players each and every day. I have already developed long lasting friendships with my teammates. Along with an amazing group of girls, this team has an outstanding coaching staff. They always make sure everyone is giving 100% effort, but at the same time, they make it enjoyable and fun for us as players.
What does Gopher Soccer mean to you?:
To me, Gopher soccer means the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back of the jersey.
When did you first start playing soccer?:
I started playing soccer when I was three years old and ever since then, I have grown to love the game.
What is your favorite soccer memory?:
My favorite soccer memory was my first game as a Gopher soccer player. It was and still is such an honor to play for the state of Minnesota and a thrill to play in front of the large crowd that supports Gopher soccer. The best part was in the first few minutes of the game when I scored my first goal of the season.
What is something you've done in the past year that you are the most proud of... on or off the field?:
Something that I've done in the past year that I am most proud of was when I scored the game-winning goal against LSU.
What is your favorite local Minneapolis restaurant and what do you order when you are there?:
My favorite local Minneapolis restaurant would definitely have to be Punch Pizza. I either get the Toscano Pizza or the Margarita Pizza.
How do you prepare/get pumped up for a game?:
Just being with the team in the locker room before games gets me pumped up. We always have music playing and everyone is either dancing or just getting mentally prepared for the game.
If you could spend one day with a professional soccer player, who would it be and why?:
If I could spend the day with a professional soccer player, it would definitely be Mia Hamm. I would chose Mia because not only is she an amazing soccer player, but she was on the USA Women's World Cup team when they won the FIFA World Cup in 2000 that made a huge impact on women's soccer.
What is your "walkout" song and why?:
My walkout song is Trippy by Antiserum & Mayhem because I love the beat and it always gets me pumped up.
What do you think your biggest strength on and off the field?:
My biggest strength on and off the field is my hard work and having the will to succeed.
What is an interesting fact that not many people know about you?:
My great uncle, Andy Pafko, played professional baseball for the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Braves, and Brooklyn Dodgers.
What is your biggest goal for the season?:
My biggest goal for the season is to make it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament.
How has playing soccer at Minnesota influenced the way you feel about the game?:
Playing soccer for the Gophers has made me more passionate about the game because this is a highest level of soccer I have ever played and being on this highly competitive team is making be a better player every day.
What is your favorite non-athletic building on campus and why?:
My favorite non-athletic building on campus is Walter Hall because the design of the building is so neat and the Library inside looks like its from Harry Potter.
Who is your biggest role model and why?:
My biggest role model is my older brother, Matthew, who passed away from brain and spine cancer. He never complained once about the pain he was in, inspiring me to always do my best in anything I do and to never give up.