December 4, 2020

VIDEO: Mess means more for women’s soccer

Webster University’s women’s soccer team will feature a double dose of Mess this season.

Twin sisters Ashley and Jessica Mess join an underclassmen-heavy Gorloks squad this season. There will be a Mess sister on each part of the field, as Ashley Mess plays defense while Jessica Mess plays up top as a striker.

Ashley Mess, a defender, and Jessica Mess, a forward, have played soccer together since kindergarten.

Freshman forward Jessica Mess (left) and freshman defender Ashley Mess (right) pose at St. Louis Soccer Park after practice on Tuesday, Aug. 28. The Messes are two of nine freshmen joining the women's soccer team, which has no seniors this year. PHOTO BY BRITTANY RUESS.

“I’ve never wanted to not play with my sister,” Jessica Mess said. “Starting on new teams, it’s always nice to be together so we don’t get as nervous.”

Both players seemed to have overcome those nerves this offseason with their new team at Webster. The Mess sisters — along with several other Webster players  — participated in a summer league at the St. Louis Soccer Park.

Jessica Mess got her name on the stat sheet with two goals in those league games. Her first goal didn’t come easily. She collided with the opposing goalie after stretching her leg out to push the ball into the corner of the net.

“I was like, ‘Oh, ow, pain,’ but then I saw the ball in the net and I got up and realized I really just scored and that was my first college career goal,” Jessica Mess said.

Scoring a goal was a regular occurrence for both sisters in their high school careers. Except when injured, the Messes played every minute of every game for four years on the varsity soccer team at Northwest High School in Cedar Hill, Mo.

By Sam Masterson

“Our coach in high school apologized to us after our senior season because even when she would see us go down or possibly be hurt, she would act like she didn’t see it and wouldn’t take us out of the game,” Ashley Mess said.

Webster women’s soccer coach Luigi Scire will give the sisters a little more rest throughout this season. But Scire is looking forward to seeing an 18-month recruiting process begin to pay off.

“They are extreme competitors who love the game and hate to lose,” Scire said. “And that is something that I think will be brought on to the field as early as their freshman year.”

Scire watched the Mess sisters play at Northwest, at club games and even in college showcases as far away as Kansas City.

Their father, John Mess, surrounded his daughters with talented players. Growing up in St. Louis, John Mess’s father surrounded him with local professional soccer players on the St. Louis Stars in the 1960s and ‘70s. After being named a Midwest All-American in high school, he played collegiate soccer at McKendree University.

John Mess coached his daughters until they were in eighth grade and made an uneasy switch from coach to fan. Now he can sit with his wife, Kathy Mess, and enjoy watching his daughters play the game they all love.

“They’re my favorite players,” John Mess said. “Over all the years watching them progress and get their styles and what they do, you’ll see it when you watch them play.”

Colleges such as Rockhurst University, Fontbonne University and McKendree recruited the Mess sisters. The Mess sisters chose Webster after the school awarded them academic scholarships. Ashley Mess is an advertising major while Jessica Mess is undecided. The classroom is nowhere near the weakest part of their game, Scire said.

“Academically, they are going to do some great things in the classroom,” Scire said. “And my expectation of them on the field is that they are going to do some great things for the next four years as well.”

The Mess sisters begin their college season on Friday, Aug. 31, when the Gorloks take on Whitman College (Wash.) at the Soccer Park. The real game might be figuring out which sister is which.

“In terms of their playing style, Jessica is dominant on the left side, so that is the key in telling them apart,” Scire said.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, Ashley Mess will be in the No. 7 jersey while Jessica Mess wears No. 8.

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