California's Arielle Ship has added two more honors to her growing 2015 list of accolades after being named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week and earning a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer National Team of the Week, the two organizations announced Tuesday.
Ship had a hand in all four goals that California scored in their first perfect weekend of the conference season. The junior striker scored twice - including the game-winning goal - and registered an assist in Cal's 3-2 win against Oregon in the Pac-12 home opener. Ship then assisted on the game-winning goal in Cal's 1-0 victory against Oregon State to cap her six-point weekend.
Emma Fletcher knows a thing or two about making difficult decisions.
After picking up soccer at the age of four, the talented but admittedly short player from Victoria, British Columbia, has worked towards her goal of representing Canada in international play. Since then, her travels have taken her to tournaments in countries around the world with a detour to Louisiana before landing in Berkeley.
Early in her career, the 5-foot-4 Fletcher earned selection to the youth programs in the Canadian system, training with the U-14, U-15 and U-16 divisions. But with her father a New Zealander - she holds dual citizenship - she ultimately accepted an opportunity to compete with New Zealand at the 2012 U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan.
"My dad's a full Kiwi, and he emailed them to see if they would be interested in me playing for them," Fletcher said. "I lived there between nine and 10, so I have quite a Kiwi background, but I still live in Canada."
Spread more love and less hate.
That's the idea behind Project Happiness: Paint the World Pretty, a social movement started by softball alumna Lindsay (James) DeAlba meant to inspire a random act of kindness in a stranger's day. Taking a "pay it forward" approach, DeAlba drops her artwork all over public locations in the Bay Area - and throughout the globe in some cases - for free, with a special note asking those who find and collect her artwork to do something nice for someone else.
"When I get an email, or a text message or even a picture of someone with the found art, they're so happy and it makes me happy," said DeAlba, who played for the Bears from 2003-06.
The idea started earlier this summer when DeAlba found herself feeling down about the national and international events - from racial tension to violence and negativity - she'd heard more and more often on the news. As she had many times before, DeAlba escaped to her art studio one night to release some tension. Looking around at her collection of finished pieces, she realized she could be a spark in spreading more love and positivity.
Project Happiness was born, and within days DeAlba was out in San Carlos sprinkling her artwork across her hometown. Just a short time later, she received an email from 63-year-old woman who found one of her pieces.
"She told me that it was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened in her whole life. For me, that just took my breath away," DeAlba said. "You know you can make an impact just with one person."
BERKELEY — It's a Wednesday night, and around 50 California student-athletes are joined together in a room in California Memorial Stadium. Groups of athletes from different sports sit together, talking about something common to all — financial literacy and budgeting.
Although only 50 are here tonight, all 850 Cal student-athletes in the past two months have sat in this room, gaining information about financial success through the program, "Bears for Financial Success." Each group of athletes was shown a presentation on budgeting, then broken up into smaller groups and completed activities such as creating long-term saving goals, learning what type of spender they are, and budgeting — all facilitated by fellow student-athletes. Swimmers and football players have discussed their differences in lifestyles, and showed each other how they budget their scholarship checks each month. Golf and baseball players created long-term savings plans together, each having different items wanted in the future, but understanding they have similar goals.
California has been picked to finish second in the Pac-12 in a preseason vote of media who regularly cover the conference. The Golden Bears earned nine first-place votes and trail only defending champion Arizona in the poll.
SAN FRANCISCO — Sean Miller hardly expects his two-time defending Pac-12 champion Arizona team to run away with another conference title.
With so much balance and new talent coming in, it could come down to the wire. For a fourth straight season, the Wildcats are picked to win the Pac-12.
"Hopefully the way they picked it, it finishes that way, that means a lot of good things have happened for us," Miller said. "This season, more so than maybe in the recent years, there is a group of teams that can win the regular-season championship. I think that's fairly obvious."
Arizona received 18 first-place votes in a poll of media members announced Thursday at Pac-12 media day. California, under second-year coach Cuonzo Martin, is picked to finish second with nine first-place votes.
"Great times for our programs, exciting times," Martin said. "I've been in a league we were picked 11th out of 12 teams and finished second. I don't think you get consumed with those type of numbers. I'd rather be the last team standing at the end of the season than at the beginning."
His team has added top recruits Jaylen Brown from Georgia and local Oakland standout Ivan Rabb to join senior returner Tyrone Wallace. The Golden Bears, who won their first conference title in 50 years in 2009-10, finished 18-15 and eighth in the Pac-12 last season.
"We have a lot of good pieces," said Wallace, who is on schedule to become the first person in his family to graduate from college. "It's about how well we come together."
Miller compared Cal's progress to how Arizona has built its program in recent years with a mix of top young players and experienced returners.
"Cal's going to be a terrific team. Cuonzo Martin and his team have done a great job," Miller said. "They have an influx of new talent that are among the best but also a veteran group that has been coached well and has been through multiple Pac-12 seasons. They have that blend of talent, both old and new, and that can be a powerful thing.