Alyssa D’Agnone is confident coming off of her second season as a Huskie.
Alyssa D’Agnone has had a stellar second season with the Huskies women’s soccer team, and her recent nomination as an All-Academic Canadian is the cherry on top of the cake. Now, she hopes to keep this momentum going as her tenure with the Huskies continues.
D’Agnone is a second-year forward for the Huskies women’s soccer program. Her love for soccer started at a young age, and runs in the family:
“My dad played soccer, [and] he always coached me growing up,” D’Agnone said. Her brother played soccer as well.
While in middle school, D’Agnone made the decision to commit more seriously to soccer, leaving her hometown of Lethbridge to play for a competitive team in Calgary. She feels that her parents have always been her biggest supporters, consistently there for her during difficult times.
Since then, D’Agnone has learned a lot from the mentorship of her teammates and coaches at USask. She specifically mentioned former players Taneil Gay and Maya Gabruch as being very influential during her first year with the Huskies. Gay and Gabruch were both crucial fifth-year veterans for the team last season, with the duo combining for 10 goals and 5 assists en route to a fourth-place team finish in the Canada West playoffs.
“They taught me a lot on and off the field about how to be a good Huskie.”
D’Agnone further noted all the wisdom that she’s gained from Gabruch’s mentorship on the academic side of the student-athlete life, as the two players hope to pursue similar career paths.
“I’m hoping to go into medicine,” D’Agnone expressed. “[Maya] was not only a mentor for me on the field, since she plays striker, but she actually just got into the College of Medicine.”
D’Agnone has also benefited from the diverse strengths of the Huskies’ coaching staff, and each coach’s ability to relate to the players in different ways.
“There’s a whole bunch of different paths that they came from, which is nice to have variety in coaching styles,” D’Agnone said.
Now coming off her second season with the Huskies, D’Agnone described the shift in her mentality as having more confidence this time around.
“Last year, I came in knowing I was a rookie, knowing there was a bunch of players older than me,” D’Agnone reflected. “And then this year, our team’s really young, so I think I had to step up and take over that [leadership] role. I came in, just with a bit more confidence and knowing that I had a bigger responsibility for the team.”
Her experience playing at the university level has also taught her that opportunities come through hard work. She described how she often feels like an underdog, which only motivates her further not to take for granted any opportunities once they are within her grasp.
Her dedication to this principle shows in her performance on the field. This season D’Agnone led her team with seven goals in 14 games. After not scoring many goals last year, D’Agnone put more responsibility on herself this season. She added that after getting her first goal, the rest of the scoring came easier.
Following a strong season both on the field and in the classroom, D’Agnone has recently been named as an All Academic-Canadian. The player reflected on how important earning this distinction has been to her.
“Sometimes people put so much pressure on me as an athlete, they forget that we’re actually student athletes. The student part comes first, you can’t play if you don’t get good enough grades.”
D’Agnone has found that the key to managing her responsibilities as both a student as well as an athlete is “all about finding the right balance and prioritizing what you need to at the time.”
Some tips and tricks that have helped her with this include to-do lists and assignment trackers, which assist with time management. In addition to that, she makes sure to take some down time for herself to avoid burnout.
D’Agnone has had an incredible second year with the Huskies women’s soccer team, whose season concluded after a 3-0 loss to the Trinity Western Spartans on Oct. 28 in the Canada West playoff Quarter-Final. She has high hopes for her continued success with the team in the future.
“I’d [like] to keep making an impact on the team positively and keep being one of those key players for the team. And keep creating opportunities for myself and others.”