Daniel Codina saw the raw speed in Asia Lawyer at 12 years old.
That’s no surprise given her family lineage. Her father, David Lawyer, won three Big Sky track championships at Boise State. Her uncle, Kerry Lawyer, still owns Boise State’s 100-meter record. And her aunt, Tracye Lawyer, won an NCAA heptathlon title in 1999 before competing in two Olympic trials.
Speed is the family business. But it’s not the only tool in Asia’s arsenal as a striker for the Boise Thorns U-14 girls soccer team. Codina said she has dedicated herself to rounding out her game, a large reason why she and the Thorns are competing in the U.S. Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championships this week at the Simplot Soccer Complex.
“You can be fast at 12 and then everyone else starts fouling you, starts figuring it out,” said Codina, her club coach. “That’s why she had to get better as a soccer player, not just a player that can sprint. That’s why she’s dominating now.”
The 14-year-old has already put those skills on display against some of the top competition in the West this week. She scored the opening goal of her team’s 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rapids in the group stage Monday, putting on the brakes during a breakaway to find the open space behind the defense and tap in a goal.
Codina said a different Asia has shown up on the field this year. She broke her ankle in a State Cup semifinal last spring, forcing her to miss her team’s run to a state title and a President’s Cup national championship. The same team returns largely intact trying to become the second Idaho team to win a Far West Regional title.
“She didn’t get to experience any of this with the girls (last year),” Codina said. “So she’s even more fired up now. She feels she deserves it, and she does.”
David Lawyer required all of his children to find a sport when they were young. He played soccer through high school and became a licensed coach in Idaho after graduating from Boise State. But despite his track legacy, all of his children gravitated toward soccer.
Asia’s two older brothers both played college soccer. Jamil Lawyer suited up for North Idaho College, and Andre Lawyer played at Spokane Falls Community College.
“Asia had it the worst because she grew up going to high school games to see her brothers,” David Lawyer said. “She was always around the game. She was always on the field. She was always traveling to go watch them in college.
“All the baby pictures of her we have are us holding her and we’re out at some field in Vegas or California or whatever. We always laugh saying she didn’t have much of a chance.”
Asia’s older brothers never cared much for track. But she’s started to take a shine to it since entering Lowell Middle School in the sixth grade. She finished her career there this spring as the district champion in the 100 meters at 12.93 seconds, the third-fastest time for an Idaho eighth-grader this spring.
Asia said the two sports give her two different experiences. Soccer provides a team atmosphere while track satisfies her individual competitive streak. The incoming freshman at Centennial High knows she may have to choose between the two one day. But that decision isn’t coming anytime soon.
“I’ve been playing soccer for a long time, so that has a higher standing,” Asia said. “But this last season for track, I tried some new things and am starting to like it more. I can’t really pick ... yet.”
Or she could follow in the footsteps of her aunt and uncle, both multisport stars in college. Kerry Lawyer played receiver for the Boise State football team during his track career. And Tracye Lawyer was the Pac-10 women’s soccer player of the year the fall before winning her national track championship.
“That’s the family blood. But she’s having such a good time and doing soccer and track, so why pick now?” Codina said. “They complement each other.”