Sisters Reunite Through Chaminade Soccer


Kevin Hashiro

Maddie (left) and Gracie (right) Knowd are sisters who have reunited on the field here at Chaminade this season.

Growing up and both starting soccer when they were 4, Gracie and Maddie Knowd always thought it would be cool to play college soccer together. 

“Well we played together in high school and loved it,” said older sister Gracie. “We kind of just have that connection on the field, we just know what each other are gonna do, so I knew that it would be super fun.”

During Gracie’s freshman year of college at Division I New Mexico State, she found herself in a “mental health rut.” And by the end of the 2020 season, she was on the verge of quitting soccer altogether.

But when she transferred to CUH, their dream would come true.

Now the two sisters — Gracie as a redshirt freshman midfielder and Maddie as a freshman midfielder — are starters on a CUH women’s soccer team that is 7-3-2 overall (4-2-3 PacWest Conference). The women’s soccer team is currently sitting at fifth place in the conference standings with just one more game at home to wrap up the season on Saturday. 

During the team’s game against Academy of Art on Sept. 28, Gracie and Maddie recorded 43 and 42 minutes respectively coming off the bench which happened to be the most amount of time either had seen this season

The following game, the sisters got their first college career starts together on Oct. 1 against Dominican University and won 2-0. 

“I think coming from New Mexico and having such a tough time there and not getting minutes, seeing her as a freshman getting a start just makes me so proud,” Gracie said. “So it’s not, ‘I don’t want her to start over me.’ That’s something I wish that I had so I’m happy that she gets that.” 

Head coach Michelle Richardson, who is in her 10th season as the head coach, attributes the pair getting their first start to the sister’s “pure hard work.”

“Maddie and Gracie both had some challenges when they first came to the program of sort of where they fit and how consistent they were on the field,” Richardson said. “They asked consistently for feedback and I gave them what I needed from them and both of them just worked. Worked super hard on everything they knew the team and I needed from them until they were given the opportunity through hard work […] and since that time have never given up that spot based on their effort level, understanding the coaches ability, and constantly working on being better.”

Just before Gracie could give up on soccer at New Mexico State, her parents convinced her to transfer and find another university. So she entered the transfer portal in hopes to find a school that she would be happy with outside of soccer. Gracie immediately searched for schools near the beach since it is a place she enjoys being when she’s not on the field. Gracie also kept in mind that going to school in Hawaii had always been one of her dreams. 

Meanwhile, her younger sister Maddie was back home in Ramona, California, training to earn her spot on a college roster somewhere after realizing she would not be joining her sister at New Mexico State. 

“New Mexico State was recruiting me as well but after talking to Gracie about her experiences I realized that this isn’t gonna happen, we’re not gonna play together,” Maddie said. “But then when she transferred I thought that it could happen.”

The day that Gracie arrived on Chaminade’s campus for drop off with her parents and Maddie in tow also happened to be the day that Maddie would have a tryout with the CUH women’s soccer team. After a successful tryout, Maddie was offered a spot. 

Richardson also said that she knew Maddie would be a “great fit.”

“Maddie is a great athlete and that’s shown by the fact that she is currently starting as a freshman as a midfielder,” Richardson said. “Her strength of character, who she is, the way that she took direction during the tryout is always difficult to do and to understand what a coach is asking and wanting you to do and being able to perform — she was able to do that quite quickly.”

Being the younger sister, Maddie had always wanted to follow her older sister and wanted to be doing what she was doing, which made her decision to come to Chaminade a bit easier. 

“I think I’ve always looked up to her so I think that helped my decision,” Maddie said when she thought about joining her sister. “She’s always been a role model for me and pushes me to be a better player and be a better person.”

As a freshman, Maddie’s goal coming into Chaminade was to get at least one career start. And at the beginning of the season, there were games where she would tally sometimes zero minutes and other times the highest of 20. At times, she would feel herself become unmotivated as she wasn’t playing. 

However, Gracie was quick to rectify her little sister’s way of thinking as this was a similar experience that she went through at her previous university. 

“I just told her that at the end of the day as long as you’re giving 100% that’s something the coaches can’t ignore,” Gracie said. “There’s only going to be a time when you’re going to get an opportunity in a game and once she did she proved herself and got that starting spot.”

Since the pair’s successful start on Oct. 1, the pair have started in the last six games and have each played more than 30 minutes per game. 

The Silverswords will conclude their season on Saturday against cross-town rival Hawaii Pacific University who is 3-5-1 in the PacWest Conference (4-8-3 overall). Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. at Saint Louis Field. The team will be honoring its seniors and their accomplishments following the game.