Lydia and Ken Ojuka: Best of Friends--Off the Field

Last year's Mountain West Conference Tournament MVP Lydia

Ojuka has some new competition in the family. This summer her older

brother Ken joined the men's soccer team adding another Ojuka to the

BYU soccer program.

Although the Ojuka's are known for playing soccer at BYU,

soccer isn't what bonds them. "As far as soccer goes, we never really

played together," said Lydia, a junior midfielder.

She said they are close friends without needing soccer to

maintain their close friendship.

Ken started playing soccer at age six while his little sister

Lydia didn't start until her freshman year in high school.

According to their mother, Grace, once they started playing,

they were always in the paper in high school.

Lydia was named all-state her junior and senior year. She holds her high school

record with 102 goals. Last season, Lydia scored the goal against

Kansas in the NCAA tournament to advance the Cougars into the second

round.

Lydia and Ken never played for the same team. In fact, they

didn't attend the same school. Ken attended a college prep school

while Lydia attended public school.

"It's a lot of fun to be able to play for the same program

now," Ken said. "We hang out a lot more than I thought we would --

almost every weekend."

Of her friendship with her brother Lydia said, "I think its

less having to do with soccer, but now if I see him on campus be

careful because we might talk for an hour and miss a class or

something. We're just a lot more buddy-buddy now. I would call him

my best guy friend."

Ken is the oldest of six children in the family. The family

is originally from Uganda, Africa. Their parents met the missionaries

and joined the church there.

The missionaries that taught them spoke highly of BYU and

their father decided to come to BYU to received his Ph.D. in Exercise

Physiology in 1994.

Although Ken and Lydia were born in Uganda, they were raised in Tucson,

Ariz. The family recently moved to Utah to bring them closer together. Grace,

their mother, found it difficult to support Lydia's collegiate soccer career.

"It has been hard for me to be so far away. I moved back and

wanted to be close to them. We are happy to be able to go to the

games and watch them represent BYU."

Now the family has the chance to support both Lydia and Ken

as they further their soccer careers. According to their mother, the

younger brothers want to be just like Ken and the little sisters want

to be like Lydia. They are their heroes.

Since returning from his mission in Philadelphia last

November, Kenny has had the chance to get himself ready for the

season.

"I hope to see some playing time, which is hard to come by

for a freshman," Ken said.

Men's head coach Chris Watkins is also an assistant coach on

the women's team and, speaking on their style of play, said, "They have

a ton of potential. They both are very quick and strong players."

They support each other on their respective teams.

"He goes to my games and I go to his games," said Lydia.

"We always have at least one fan in the stands," Ken said.

"They are not just brother and sister, they are very close

friends. They always say good things to each other," said their mother Grace.

"They love each other to death but they are both rivals. They have always

been competitive. If Ken gets an award, then Lydia will try to get

the same award, and it goes the other way around."

According to their mother, Lydia and Kenny are always racing

each other. Lydia ran track and placed second in state in the 400 and

800 meters in high school. When Kenny first returned home from his

mission from Philadelphia, Lydia was able to beat the out-of-shape

Kenny.

Lydia has always looked to her mother as the most influential

person in her life.

In spite of the competitive spirit that thrives between the

Ojuka siblings, Lydia and Ken can always be seen together as best

friends off the field forever.

Tags: Feature