These days, friends have gotten used to seeing Takara Mitsui wearing three distinct outfits.
▪ Running gear: As a senior, Mitsui runs up to eight miles daily around the Pacific Lutheran University campus.
▪ Hospital scrubs: As a nursing student, she is in her third year of clinicals.
▪ PLU soccer uniform: Of course, Mitsui is most frequently seen in her No. 21 uniform, playing goalkeeper for the 22nd-ranked Lutes.
Mitsui is also one of the best goalkeepers in the Northwest Conference. Twice named the conference’s defensive player of the week already in September, she has surrendered just one goal in six matches while making 19 saves.
Last season, Mitsui was the NWC’s first-team goalkeeper, leading the league in saves (14) while posting 13 shutouts.
And she is all-world in keeping it all together with a hectic schedule.
Mitsui has three clinical shifts a week at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, from 6 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. It forces her to miss training time with her PLU squad.
“They know I am super committed,” Mitsui said. “I do outside work. I am not just missing practice.”
At least the Lutes are used to her schedule. She started clinicals the last few weeks of her sophomore season — and continued them last year.
She has rotated shifts among Good Samaritan, Madigan Army Medical Center and Western State Hospital.
“I get a lot of hands-on experience with patients,” said Mitsui, who wants to become a pediatrics nurse after she graduates. “It’s been a huge reassurance that nursing is what I’ve been called to do, and help those in need.”
To make up for the team training she misses, Mitsui works individually two days a week with first-year goalkeeper coach Jonas Tanzer.
“One of the areas I can always improve on is taking ownership and leadership back there in the (penalty) box, because I see the whole field,” Mitsui said. “I have been more demanding in using my verbal skills to direct what is going on in front of me.
“I feel like I have grown as a player in the month I’ve had with him.”
As a stress-reducer, one of Mitsui’s favorite activities is running. In fact, last summer, she ran her first half-marathon at the See Jane Run Half Marathon in Seattle. And she finished in 1 hour, 52 minutes, which was good enough for fourth place in her age group.
“Running is a huge passion,” Mitsui said.
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