Soccer sisters team up at Tasman United
Due a six-year age gap, sisters Kaisa and Sola Tsuruta have never really had the opportunity to play together on a football field.
Sure, there's been plenty of kicks in the backyard throughout the years, and plenty of advice passed down from one sister to the other, but the chance to actually call each other team-mates hasn't been possible as they made their way through different age grades.
A return to Nelson during her United States offseason will see Kaisa, now 21, team up with Sola with Mainland Women's Premier League side Tasman United.
Just like she did last season, the Northwest Narazene University student has made herself available for selection in order to remain match fit during the long break.
She is likely to play somewhere between six and eight games for Tasman, enabling her to hit the ground running in her junior year in the United States.
But as much as she's enjoying the chance to link up with old team-mates and friends in Nelson, Kaisa is also relishing the opportunity to play in the same team as her 15-year-old sister, who is one of the newcomers in the Tasman squad this season.
"It's a little weird," Kaisa said of the potential of playing together. "She's pretty young compared to me and I've been playing with these girls for a long time but it's pretty cool honestly."
Sola has already made her Tasman debut and said the MWPL is a big step up from the experiences she's had with Nelson College for Girls.
"Everyone is way more physical compared to the division one league and it's just faster. It's so much better quality," the midfielder said.
Kaisa has spent two years at Northwest Narazane, which is based in Idaho, and is happy to be in a position where she could contribute more to the team.
She featured in 17 games last season, making two starts, but is pressing hard for a starting role in 2017 and has already scored three goals in three games of the spring season, which is effectively pre-season.
"I think I'm getting more used to it," she said.
"When I first went over there it was a bit of a shock. It was a lot different to how they play."
Tasman will play back-to-back games in Christchurch this weekend, squaring off against third place FC Twenty11 on Saturday before meeting bottom of the table Universities on Sunday.