North Andover soccer coach Bud McCarthy put it best during the fall when he said about Eleni Coufos, “She has been playing in the shadow of her sister (Pam) for years. Eleni is a very good player in her own right.”
Yes, Eleni has been in her sister’s shadow as far as sports go. But fraternal twins Pam and Eleni Coufos of North Andover High are both having fantastic senior years athletically.
Both were Eagle-Tribune All-Stars in soccer this fall. Pam is starring as the varsity basketball team’s starting point guard right now. The tri-captain made eight big steals in a win over Methuen last Friday. Meanwhile, Eleni is starring in track. She set the school record in the 600 meters (1:42.23) this winter.
Pam has enjoyed the better sports career. She was a four-year starter and two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star in soccer, while Eleni worked her way up the ladder, playing on the freshmen team and not earning a full-time varsity position until this year.
Meanwhile, both played basketball at a young age, but Eleni developed other interests as she grew older while Pam never lost her passion for the sport.
“My sister got more interested in dance,” said Pam, who is averaging 4.7 points as the Knights’ starting point guard. “She’s more girly than me, and I just stuck with basketball because I really liked it and she didn’t really like it as much anymore. She’s more interested in running (now).”
Both Pam and Eleni said they have never been very competitive with each other. Eleni was just happy to make the freshman soccer team.
“(Pam’s) always been the really good one (at sports) and I never really stood out as much as she did but this year we both really had strong (soccer) seasons,” added Eleni, who is a quad-captain in track. “She was more offensive and I was more midfield and defense so I wasn’t really recognized. But it was really fun playing with her all these years.”
Soccer helped the twins bond in a different way.
“I loved playing with her because it was a time where I got to spend more time with her outside of the house in a different setting where we can both pick each other up when we’re down,” Pam said.
Pam scored nine goals and added four assists this past fall and has been a prolific scorer for the lacrosse team over the past couple years.
She said watching Eleni improve at soccer over the past four years has been enjoyable.
“She stepped up into a varsity position this year as a huge player,” Pam said.
“She played really well. She was a key player on the outside and she was someone we put on (top scorers) to stop them. She was really a big factor to our team.”
The two, who are separated by just 7 minutes in age (Eleni was born first), remain supportive during the winter and spring when they play different sports.
The two sisters likely will attend different colleges. Pam has committed to play soccer at Division 1 Fairfield University.
“I really wanted to go Division 1 or at least somewhere I could play,” said Pam, who is an all-conference lacrosse player while Eleni does spring track. “UNC or BC were a little bit out of reach but Fairfield is a little bit of a smaller school and in a different division so it’s somewhere where I think I’ll fit in well.”
Meanwhile, Eleni has applied to Fairfield but her top choice is Providence College.
She still is deciding whether or not run in college.
“We’ve been sharing a bedroom since we were born so it will probably be different but I think it will be a good change,” Eleni said about possibly attending different colleges. “It will be a pretty good experience.”
Pam added: “We do pretty much everything together. We have the same group of friends. So we think it would be good to finally branch out. But I know we’ll definitely miss each other.”