The Americans’ Sister Act

Alex Brandon/Associated Press file photo

“It happened so fast that we didn’t realize how special it was until the game was over and everyone was asking how it felt,” Kristie Mewis said of starting for USA Soccer alongside her sister, Samantha. “It actually felt kind of natural, having her next to me.”

By Pat Graham
AP Sports Writer

DENVER – The newest road roommate for U.S. midfielder Kristie Mewis keeps borrowing her deodorant and toothpaste.

Hardly a big deal, though; it’s just her little sister.

Samantha Mewis was called up for two exhibition games against China, beginning Sunday in the Mile High City. It’s the third time this season the siblings have been reunited on the women’s national team, even getting into a match together on two occasions.

That’s not exactly a common occurrence, either. The only other siblings to play in the same game for the women’s team were twins Lorrie and Ronnie Fair in the late 1990s.

The Mewis sisters could play an integral role in the midfield this fall in 2015 World Cup qualifying.

For now, they’re simply enjoying a rare chance to hang out.

“It’s kind of fun to be able to be right next to her all the time,” said the 23-year-old Kristie, who’s doubtful for Sunday’s game because of a balky ankle but could be back Thursday when the team will play in San Diego.

They certainly are taking advantage of this bonding time, walking across the street from their hotel to the mall and picking out new cellphones.

Their bond hasn’t always been this tight.

Being sisters, they had a little sibling rivalry growing up in Hanson, Mass. Being older, Kristie garnered a lot of the spotlight. She stayed close to home, attending Boston College, now playing for the Boston Breakers of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Samantha, who’s almost 20 months younger, wanted to break free from her sister’s shadow, so she went all the way to the other coast for college, attending UCLA. She helped the Bruins win an NCAA title last season.

That distance actually brought them closer together.

“We used to bicker, never really spent time together,” said Samantha, an English major at UCLA with a year of eligibility remaining. “Now, we respect each other so much and are more civil and can handle each other better.”

These days, they share a love for shopping, TV shows – “Gossip Girl” and “Sons of Anarchy” are can’t-miss programs – and, of course, soccer. As teenagers, they played on the same national teams – the 2008 under-17 women’s World Cup team in New Zealand and again on the 2010 under-20 women’s World Cup team in Germany.

But this is the big stage.

“We’ve helped each other get here, so it’s cool to share this with her,” Samantha said.

Kristie made her national team debut Feb. 9, 2013, and has 15 appearances.

Samantha made her debut at the Algarve Cup in Portugal last month, entering as a sub against Sweden at the same time as her sister. The next game, they both started.

“It happened so fast that we didn’t realize how special it was until the game was over and everyone was asking how it felt,” said Kristie, who’s rarely shared a hotel room with her sister despite their national team travel. “It actually felt kind of natural, having her next to me.”

Being so new to the team, Samantha still is learning the ropes. There’s also an awe factor in practice, when she goes up against Sydnex Leroux or Christie Rampone or Abby Wambach during a drill.

Kristie understands that feeling.

“There are some big names around you, but you have to treat them like they are any other person,” she said.

The other day, the players received a 30-minute massage, and Samantha volunteered to give 10 of those minutes to Wambach.

“Abby’s like, ‘No, Sam, you take your 30 minutes; it’s OK,’” Kristie said with a laugh. “Abby is the most down-to-earth person ever. I probably did the same thing when I was coming in, too. I’m there for (Samantha) if she has any questions.”

Away from the field, Samantha spends most of her time studying as she tries to stay caught up despite missing classes because of all the recent call-ups.

“It’s hard, but I’m going to get through it,” Samantha said.

An NCAA title and now this, joining her sister on the national team? It’s more than Samantha could’ve imagined.

“I didn’t expect to get called up this year,” Samantha said. “I feel like I’m learning a lot and improving and getting better here.”

Having big sis around definitely helps.

“Part of the reason I went to UCLA was because I wanted to make my own path, make my own name for myself,” Samantha said. “At the same time, I realized it’s an honor to get to say Kristie is my older sister, even though sometimes I felt in her shadow growing up.

“It’s such a cool thing to have someone who’s paved the way for me and made such a good name for herself.”

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