Two of a kind

It’s Frankie, not Francesca, and Iman, not I-Man. Remember that much, because these names may appear regularly on the soccer pitch at Portland State over the next four years.

It’s Frankie, not Francesca, and Iman, not I-Man. Remember that much, because these names may appear regularly on the soccer pitch at Portland State over the next four years.

Frankie Ross and Iman Bearde are freshmen on a Viking soccer team that sits at 3-3 after six matches, one win from equaling their season total from a year ago. And both of the youngsters have had a foot in the team’s early success.

Ross was named Big Sky Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week following the opening weekend of the season and Bearde assisted on the game-winning goal against North Florida one week later.

Ross and Bearde may be new to the South Park Blocks and the Big Sky, but they are no strangers to each other.

Both from Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif., Ross and Bearde have shared the field as teammates-not only as preps-but also on the California North Stars, an under-18 club squad, and the 2006 United States Adult Soccer Association West Regional Team, which featured elite players from 13 states.

Finishing high school with a 3.99 GPA, Ross was drawn to Portland State because of its unique setting amidst the foliage of the Park Blocks, accessibility to public transportation and Portland’s beauty. She was also impressed with head coach Tim Bennett and assistant coach Laura Schott.

“Tim and Coach Schott were both really nice, so that made it easier to choose Portland State,” Ross said.

Bearde chose Portland State for many of the same reasons as Ross, but she also had an interest in the business and international studies programs, fitting since Bearde is already fluent in French and currently trying her hand at learning Italian, another of the romantic languages.

On the field, Ross is a solid midfielder who is strong when the ball is lying at her feet and makes calculated decisions on the fly.

“Frankie’s a very intelligent player, very crafty, and once she makes the transition (to the collegiate level), she’ll be a very dominant midfielder,” Bennett said.

During her high school days at Bishop O’Dowd, Ross led the league in scoring as a senior, an aggressive scoring mentality she has continued at Portland State, as she is second on the Vikings in shots taken thus far.

Bearde is a speedy, powerful forward that plays fast, active and aggressive.

“Iman’s a great athlete-runs by everybody-she just needs to put on the last little finishing touches to be a more consistent player,” Bennett said.

Off the field, Ross is an easygoing person that is always flashing a smile and with wit as quick as her churning feet when sprinting up field.

“She always has something to say,” Bearde said of Ross. “She’s straight to the point (and nothing else).”

But Ross also likes to have fun. She says students should make their way to PGE Park for a few soccer matches because “we’re the hottest (girls) in the school.”

“She’s very sarcastic, and witty, which is a sign of her intelligence,” Bennett said.

Bearde has a playful personality and a carefree attitude to go with her red mohawk hairstyle. According to Ross, Bearde is also considered the more creative of the two, as she has a knack for cutting things out and placing them all over the walls of her dorm room.

“Iman is more laid back, but also very outgoing, and likes to be in the middle of things,” Bennett said.

More importantly though, at least to Ross, is Bearde can cook, which is important from a starving friend’s perspective.

“She makes some mean mashed potatoes,” Ross said. “Her mom’s a great cook-she’s actually a chef-so Iman knows how to cook.”

Whether Bearde and Ross are on the field, getting a bite to eat, talking about Bearde’s dog Boomer or Ross’s brother, who plays baseball for the University of California and is expected to be a top pick in next year’s Major League Baseball draft, they will surely be laughing and smiling as teammates and best friends.

“They’re a lot of fun and I enjoy both of them very much,” Bennett said.

With Bearde and Ross around the Park Blocks for the next four years, there should be a lot of smiles, giggles and wins on the horizon at Portland State.