Although there is no girls team at her high school this does not prevent Allyna’s determination to play at the next level. She is a talented player for a local club. She shares a little bit of her experience, mentors and dreams.
Allyna’s coach Michael Derek Sandoval II said of her leadership: ” Although Allyna was given the position of being Captain, she did not become complacent, but instead pushed herself to become and achieve even more….Another quality of Allyna is her ability to encourage those around her. She tactically and positively inspires those in her spheres of influence, on and off the soccer field. This is an unselfish gift of seeking the best of others and not herself is the highest quality of character.”
Get to know: Allyna Gonzalez
How old were you when you started playing soccer and what was the first team you played for?
● I was first introduced to soccer when I was four years old by my Dad/Coach. He encouraged me to play because soccer builds a basic core of being an athlete. It allows you to explore your creativity, speed, endurance, knowledge of the game, agility skills, coordination, and so much more. Playing for the Uvalde Youth Soccer Association was a lot of fun throughout the years. As creative and sassy four year olds are, we came up with the name of “Cheetah Girls” for our team.
Who is your mentor or biggest influence when it comes to playing soccer?
● Without a doubt in my mind it would definitely be my Dad. He played football, basketball, and soccer in high school and always told me stories about his experiences in overcoming obstacles. At a very young age my Dad taught me the importance of being humble and the value of working hard for what you wanted. Because of him I consider myself to have a very strong work ethic, I don’t quit even when it seems that’s the only option left. He always held me accountable at the end of every game for not giving it my all, which at a young age was quite annoying but now I have come to appreciate him for never letting me cut myself short. Without him I wouldn’t be the type of leader I am today.
Who is your mentor outside of soccer?
● This one is a complicated question to answer because my whole life I’ve had many mentors outside of soccer. There are so many people in my life who have made an extreme impact. I admire my math teacher who I’ve had since fifth grade for always making herself available for her students because she truly cares about our success both in and out of the classroom. She continuously made it known that she would work to help us grow. Additionally, in my freshmen/sophomore year of playing varsity basketball in high school, I was lucky enough to get to play with one of our captains who I wanted to grow up to be just like. She expected more from me than our other players and she was always so kind to everyone. There wasn’t a day at practice when she was mad, she was the best example of what a captain should be.
Who is your favorite player and why?
● I have a favorite player from before my time and one who is currently still playing, both Michelle Akers and Christen Press remain my favorite players. I’ve always loved their drive to push through any hardship thrown at them. Member of the 1991 US Women’s team Michelle Akers is one of the best players to play the game. She would go on to receive the FIFA Order of Merit (only female to receive this honor) and then named FIFA Player of the Century in 2000. Personally, I think that Akers set the standard for how to play with such strength and skill. Other than her many injuries she endured, she also battled Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that showed up in the 93’ Olympic Sports Festival. Akers pushed through taking precautions and still left a big impact on the world of soccer being someone who inspired young athletes like me to this day. Christen Press is someone who I feel has been underrated most of her career and is now finally getting the attention she deserves. She has had an amazing season being a pain in the rear end for defenders and keepers. Earlier in the year Press went on to play against France having just recently suffered the loss of her mother. After she scored the first goal she celebrated with a tribute to her mom by raising her hands and looking up to the sky. I admire her for her resilience and strength that she attacks every new day with. Excited for all that Press will continue to be bringing to the game under Coach Vlatko Andonovski.
Who is your favorite professional team?
● My favorite professional team would have to be Orlando Pride. I like to see the chemistry between the players who in regular season, would play each other. Orlando Pride has many of my favorite players that I like to watch and learn from such as Ali Krieger, Marta, Alex Morgan, Jordyn Listro, Sydney Leroux, and Gunny Jónsdóttir.
Besides playing your primary position; is there any other position you play?
● Other than playing midfielder, I have explored many positions throughout my soccer career. In my youth, I primarily played as a striker because of my courage to attack the goal. I have also transitioned into playing a midfielder and wing because of my ability to cross and make overlapping runs. Playing multiple roles throughout the field has ultimately helped me to become a stronger player when it came down to the tactics of it all. The only position I have yet to play would be the goalkeeper. Although my hand and eye coordination is good for basketball, I will be sticking with my strengths on the field. I am willing to play any positions I am needed for, I like the challenge of having to adapt to
a new playing style as well as being a team player.
What has been your overall experience playing at club level?
● My overall experience of playing at the club level has been 11 out of 10. Not having the privilege of playing soccer for high school, I would say that playing club has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. At first, I was hesitant when my Dad initially introduced the idea of playing club soccer in San Antonio with the Dragons. However, I knew that I needed more than what my small hometown could offer. Playing for two years with the Dragons I learned to keep up with and then eventually dominate at the club pace. It was obviously a different pace than recreational soccer was but it wasn’t
impossible for me to adjust to. I have always been a quick learner and this was no different. At the age of 13, I tried out for Alamo City and made it onto the team. This was a great accomplishment for me and through club soccer I have met so many great teammates and coaches. Through club soccer, I developed many leadership qualities that led me to be voted, by my teammates, to be captain just a year after joining. I have continuously been voted to be captain as of today. Soccer has also given me the chance to travel out of state on multiple occasions. In 2018, I scored the winning goal that sent
my team to the Southern U.S. Presidents Cup in Greenville, South Carolina. Also, in the end of 2019, my team and I were invited to the Surf Cup in San Diego, California. Just recently my club was offered the chance to transition to be a part of the SURF legacy and we are now known as the SA SURF 03 ECRL. We are currently undefeated and our team has been stronger than ever, I owe some of my best memories to club soccer.
What are some values that your coaches have taught you?
● Throughout the years of playing soccer or any sport, I have had several coaches that have taught me various characteristics. Although some might be your basic life skills, there are those that separate you from others. Seeing the way my coaches have carried themselves through the toughest of times, as well as the greatest, I have seen the impact of “the comeback” or “the follow up” helps build who you are as a person. The common trait that all my coaches have taught me to value is the ability to remain consistent. It is easy to have one great game but to consistently have great games requires you to put in that extra amount of effort.
What are your plans after high school? Are you planning to play in college or go pro?
● Since I was kid, I’ve always been interested in the health care of animals. After I graduate high school, I plan on going to college to major in Biology with a minor in Pre-Veterinary Medicine. My goal is to play and to make an impact on any college soccer team I play for. I have had several conversations with my Dad and have discussed the pros and cons of going to play professional soccer. I have come to the conclusion that if the opportunity to play professional soccer arises for me, that I wouldn’t hesitate in taking the chance to play. However, as of right now, I am focusing on finishing up my senior year of high school and training on the fields to get better everyday. Not just for me but for my team as well.
What is your pregame ritual? Do you have a favorite song, meal or other thing you do prior to a game?
● A pregame ritual I like to do before games is watch a 5-minute inspirational talk. I found that watching these videos unlock a different side of me during games and I dig a little deeper when the game begins to get rough. These talks can either be an ex-athlete talking or simply a talk about giving it your all in life. It sounds odd but these talks are basically my “pep talks” before game time. I do actually have a certain genre of music that I listen to before games and it’s actually kind of funny when people ask what I’m listening to. I listen to either a playlist on Spotify called “heavy metal workout” or “rock music”. It’s definitely something that gets my adrenaline pumping and heart rate up. It just gets me ready to tear it up on the field and to release my inner beast.
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