Anderson a leader for women’s soccer

Clifton Jones

Even at the age of three, sophomore forward Alyssa Anderson was destined to play soccer at the Division I level.

Anderson has scored seven goals this season and is on pace to place in the top 5 in school history for the total number of goals scored in a single season. The current record was set in 2007 when Katie McCoy finished with 14 goals.

Alyssa’s father, Eric Anderson, introduced her to the game and still remembers his daughter’s first years playing soccer.   

“She was a complete goofball when she was started playing soccer,” [Eric] Anderson said. “The ball would be up to her waist. It was just fun to watch such a tiny person play the game at three years old.”

Soccer was not really a focus for [Alyssa] Anderson growing up. She played softball and volleyball, but there came a time when the two sports did not appeal to her anymore.

Anderson said she started to focus primarily on playing club soccer at the U12 level.

“I really loved the game of soccer at 11 years old,” Anderson said. “So I just wanted to make it my priority.”

Her mother, Sandy Anderson, found it a challenge to take care of both Alyssa and her twin brother, Ryan Anderson.

[Sandy] Anderson said she would bring the twins to the soccer field to watch the games and practices of her older daughter, Kayla Anderson.

“Everytime the ball would come down the field, there would be [Alyssa], an 18-month-old kid, running out to kick the ball as she is giggling,” Sandy Anderson said.

Besides her blistering speed on the soccer field, [Alyssa] Anderson has technical skills and footwork that give her the ability to play two entirely different positions as both right defensive back and forward striker. Those qualities piqued women’s soccer head coach Randy Dedini’s interest in Anderson when he recruited her.

“Alyssa is a natural goal scorer for us on the soccer field. She is a multi-faceted player with great technical skills and speed,” Dedini said. “She will be a major threat for the Big Sky in the next two years of her collegiate career.”

As [Alyssa] Anderson kept moving up in the age divisions of the Santa Rosa United Soccer club, she was mentored by many coaches, but there are two coaches that will always stand out to her when she played for the club team – her dad and Emiria Salzmann Dunn.

“My dad has been the one who would talk to me after the games and offer some advice. Emiria taught me to look at soccer with a whole different view,” Anderson said.

In fact, it was Salzmann Dunn, now the Sonoma State women’s soccer head coach, who introduced Dedini to Anderson at a club practice in high school. She said that Dedini was the only one who took the time to listen to her about Anderson’s ability to play the game.

“When Randy came to recruit Alyssa, I shared my experiences as her coach,” Dunn said. “All the other recruiters didn’t seem to care, except for Randy.”

[Alyssa] Anderson began to harness her footwork and technical skills when she was 16.

When Anderson began playing club soccer, she was dubbed “Tumbleweed” by her mother.

“Alyssa was called ‘Tumbleweed,’ because she was so fast. She would often run so fast that she would fall over and roll,” [Sandy] Anderson said. “She would get right back up again and continuing running, like a tumbleweed.”

[Alyssa] Anderson actually was committed to Dominican University in San Rafael, Calif., before she came to play at Sac State. But there were some complications and she chose to come to Sac State instead.

Anderson said the reason she decided on Sac State was the entire package the Hornets offered here as a senior in high school.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do because I knew the coach and players at Dominican really well and thats why I committed there first, but what Sac State was offering me to come here was more enticing for me,” Alyssa Anderson said. “Plus it’s Division I soccer instead of Division II.”

However, when the sophomore first walked onto the Sac State campus, she knew that this is where she wanted to be. Anderson said it is always positive to come to a school like Sac State.

“The team has been fun the last two years, both on the practice field and after practice,” Anderson said.

She can play 90 minutes a game because she pushes herself every single day in practice.

“I push myself so hard every practice and every game because I know there are kids that are watching me play,” [Alyssa] Anderson said. “I just want to be a good role model for the future soccer players that are watching.”

One difference [Alyssa] Anderson’s parents have seen from the sophomore is her ability to play freely this season.

“This year she has found her groove. The previous year she didn’t know her teammates very well, so it was an adjustment for her,” Sandy Anderson said.