He’s a first-team All-Pac-12 defensive back and one of the best defensive players in country. But ask Huskies safety Budda Baker who the better defender is – him or his girlfriend - and you might be surprised.
“She’s allowed fewer goals than I have touchdowns, so I’d say Sierra,” Baker said.
As a defender at Western Washington, Sierra Shugarts was named GNAC Conference Player of the Year – on the top-ranked team in Division II that’s now just two wins from a national title.
“I wasn’t really a football fan until I met Budda. Now I’m a Budda fan – not really a football fan,” Shugarts said.
Added Baker: “You know, it’s funny because she plays center back – you can call it the free safety of soccer – and I’m a free safety, so we kind of have the same job.”
On the field – and off – as each other’s biggest fan. Baker and Shugarts have been a couple for more than three years – keeping up with the other’s progress, in-person when they can.
“I’ve made it down for one game and hope to make it to Apple Cup too,” Shugarts said.
“She has games on some Saturdays when I have games so, our last text messages are ‘Good Luck, Love you, like, ‘Win the game!’ Most of the time it’s been ‘Hey I won! or ‘Hey we won!’ So – it’s been real positive,” Baker said.
Especially with this year’s success of both their respective teams: Baker, leading the Dawgs to nine straight wins to start the year and a current Top-5 ranking – Shugarts, with four goals on an undefeated that’s allowed just eight total goals in 23 matches this season.
“It was funny because I scored a goal and then the next game, he got an interception, and then the next game I scored. So I was like ‘cool, you’re always one-upping me. But yeah, we like to keep it fun – we like to challenge each other,” Shugarts said.
“He’s a humble guy. He’s just always there to support me. He’s always motivating me – oh you got player of the year, he’s like Ok, you can do better. He’s always that person to push me and that really strives in our relationship I think.”
Added Baker: “She’s just a great person. Would give her shirt off her back to someone else. Everyone loves her. She’s got a great smile – all that type of stuff.”