Quiet But Powerful: Alyssa Visconti Feature
Nov. 30, 2007
AMHERST, Mass. - As a defender for the UMass women's soccer team, Alyssa Visconti often finds herself "trapped" on the field. She finds support from her defensive teammates, but aiding her is a general stress-free approach to the game.
"To be honest I don't think a lot during the game. That might sound funny, but I try to stay calm and composed," she said. "I get told a lot that I look very calm in the back and never tense or frustrated. I just think it is easier to play with less stress."
For Visconti, the key to success on the field is a simple formula of chemistry, communication, and passion.
"Soccer is a team sport; you can't expect one person to accomplish the job for everyone," Visconti said.
Although she was born in Clearwater, Fla., Visconti moved to North Reading, Mass. when she was four and started playing soccer a year later at age five. Visconti said she started to realize how much she loved the sport of soccer and started to take it seriously around the age of 11 when she joined a club team.
Visconti learned many lessons from her high school coach, Sean Killeen. In a telephone interview she said that Killeen brought out the team player and leader in her and that she is more likely to set up a play and pass the ball rather then take it to net herself. She doesn't tend to be very loud: "(Killeen) taught me to be more vocal and how to lead in a way that is not demanding."
When asked about how the transition from the North Reading Hornets to the Minutewomen was, Visconti said, it was difficult but wasn't as hard as she expected because she had dealt with switching teams when she was younger. "I had switched from my club team Spirit of Massachusetts, a team with girls I had played with for six years, to playing for their rivals, South Coast Scorpions. It was a tough transition, but the change improved my game, which I can't complain about."
With a passion for the game also comes the passion of winning and Visconti said that the biggest difference between high school and college soccer is that college level is played at a much faster pace. "You all want to win and you all enjoy playing the game at such a high level", she said.
The Minutewomen started off the season with six wins and one tie before losing three games to Duquesne, Dayton, and Rhode Island. Alyssa said getting past a loss is hard but she handles it much differently now then she did in high school.
In high school Visconti did not deal well with losing a game because she felt that the other girls on her team were just there to take up time and have an extracurricular activity. She knew they wouldn't be continuing to play in college, unlike her. "I loved playing soccer and most of all I loved winning," she said. Now she says she handles a loss better because she knows that the rest of her team feels the same as she does. The way she now handles it is that she goes over what went wrong in the game and how to avoid those mistakes in future games. "I don't carry a grudge on for very long. Once the game is over, it's over. I start to think about the next opponent right away," she said.
Family is very important to Visconti, a middle child with two older sisters and two younger brothers. Her parents, especially her father, have only helped to fuel her love for soccer by being her coach up until this point and rigorously training her every summer. She said her family supports her entirely and cheer her on at every game they can make.
Soccer is more than a sport to Visconti, it is her love and passion, yet she is a girl who loves to have fun and enjoys listening to music, going to the beach, exercising, and doing anything that can make her laugh. One day she hopes to snowboard and surf. After graduating from UMass, she dreams of traveling to Africa to work with under-privileged children.
Traveling is something she dreams of often and in addition to Africa she would also like to see South America and Europe. She eventually would like to settle in either California or somewhere hot where she could surf.
Being a freshman at UMass can be very over whelming, the student body is large and the campus has its own zip code. Being a freshman and playing a collegiate sport can be an even bigger challenge, but Visconti said she loves UMass. She said the UMass experience so far is great and she loves her freshman year, "my dream is for things to only get better."