Seeing The Big Picture
By Jenny Affan
Alyssa Gillmore's world may be confined by the constraints of the penalty box, yet her role on her team is one that can be felt through the entire field. Being a goalkeeper in the Pac-12 is a daunting task, but the Arizona State junior is always up to the challenge. She knows that to be an effective goalie player, she must have an edge. In her eyes, her edge stems from the way she was raised.
"My parents taught me how to work hard, very hard. The way my parents raised me explains a lot about how I play," said Gillmore, a native of Evergreen, Colo. "My family has always been extremely supportive. When I was young, they would come to all of my games. Now, they still are able to make to it a lot out [of games] here in Arizona and it is just fun for them to watch me play."
The Sun Devils have reached the playoffs the past two years. When Gillmore was a freshman, she entered the scene just as the program was making a positive turn. Little did she know, as a freshman she not only would be watching the older players in action, she would also be playing alongside them. Ten games into the season, senior goalie Briana Silvestri suffered an injury, and Gillmore became the starter.
"At first, I thought I was just going to learn from her that year. It was sad that she got hurt," Gillmore said. "My first games as a freshman were nerve wracking because they were against USC and UCLA. The whole team was there to support me, though."
Two years later, Gillmore has continued to improve. During her freshman year, she tied a school record with 14 saves against UCLA. As a sophomore, she started all 20 games with a GAA of 1.25. As her third season at ASU begins she has many hopes for her team.
"My hope is to go further than playoffs, and make more of a statement this year," she said. "There is a lot of talent here. We also want to emphasize our defense."
Gillmore's realization of her role on the field as well as in her own life has attributed to her success thus far. Her focus on being a hard-working athlete and student has helped to carve her future aspirations.
"My hope is to be back in Colorado after school, and to start up some sort of non-profit organization," she said. "My major is parks and recreational management and right now I'm taking a class on how to develop non-profit programs. I'm also working with younger kids [at the] YMCA and helping them get involved with sports. My hope is to reach out to inner city kids and help them."
Gillmore has learned a multitude of things on and off the soccer field. When asked what advice she'd give to younger players who'd like to play soccer in college, she had an immediate answer.
"Don't rush to make a decision, I feel like players are committing very early these days," she said. "Players just need to make sure they are happy with where they want to play. Also, don't forget to see the big picture and that is you're ultimately concentrating on your education."