Soccer has always been a significant part of the Martinez family’s life. Angela Martinez Brooks and Niki Martinez Tedoni both play soccer with their children and husbands in the backyard of their homes — just as they did when they were young with their parents.
“It’s a bond. Our family is super close in general,” Brooks said. “But to have this thread that weaves through all of us and brings us together, it’s pretty neat. It’s a commonality. It’s a shared passion.”
Brooks, a 2003 alumna, was inducted into the Webster University Athletics Hall of Fame (HOF) on Saturday, Feb. 8. Her sister Niki Martinez Tedoni was inducted in 2010. They are the first sisters in the HOF. Both were on Webster’s soccer team at the same time, and they described that time on the field together as a blessing.
“There were times it was challenging. But for me, I had so much trust in her (Tedoni) off the field…If I was struggling, she would step in, and vice versa. It was really a give-and-take. It was a real gift to get to do that with my sister,” Brooks said. “I never had that dynamic with another player. I had trust in them, but it’s different when they’re your own blood.”
Brooks played for Webster for two years after transferring from Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) and said her sister recruited her to Webster. Tedoni described her sister joining her in the Webster Athletics HOF as “special.”
“It was such an honor playing with her in college and getting to share that experience with her and with my other sister in high school,” Tedoni said. “My father spent a lot of time with us teaching us how to play soccer and working with us, always trying to make us better. … Us joining this together just felt so special.”
Brooks was an NSCAA All-Region Scholar Team selection in 2002 and the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Newcomer of the Year in
Brooks started playing soccer when she was five years old. Her dad coached her and her siblings. Her husband played soccer in college as well. Today, both coach their children: two boys, eight and six years old.
“My dad didn’t play soccer when he was growing up, but he always coached us, so it was a family-oriented thing for us growing up. I always played with my sisters and my brother,” Brooks said. “Now to be able to continue that with my children, they take a lot of pride —they say ‘our family was made for soccer.’”
Brooks has two other children: one 4 years old and one just 9 months. She expects they will both play soccer when they are old enough.
Growing up, Brooks and Tedoni played soccer with their older sister and brother in the backyard and basement. Tedoni said soccer is something they still do as a family. She plays in tournaments in the St. Louis area with her older sister Maria Martinez Sterck.
“The closeness that the game brought us, it’s still a big part of our family,” Sterck said.
Sterck played soccer at a college out of state. She said she never had the opportunity to see her two younger sisters play at Webster.
For two years, all three sisters, who were each one year apart, played soccer together on their high school team in Washington, Mo.
“We had a blast, and we always depended on each other,” Sterck said. “That was the best time I remember: playing soccer with my sisters.”
Tedoni said their dynamic on the field differed from their relationship off the field.
“We are probably the hardest on each other on the field. It was a different experience,” Tedoni said. “It was different because we are so close off the field.”