Getting Silly With The Shot Stopper; Alyssa Naeher of the Boston Breakers
The following is part of a weekly series in which writer Todd Civin presents the lighter side of the Boston Breakers of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS).
The league is built based on the down-to-earth nature and approachability of its athletes. "Getting Silly with the Breakers" is a fun-filled way to create a comfortable bond between the fans and the professional athletes who are the Boston Breakers.
A special thanks to Erica Hunt, the communications director for the team, as well as the players themselves for making this approach possible.
Though perhaps not as well known a name as some of her rookie peers entering Women's Professional Soccer this season, Boston Breakers goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, holds the distinction of being the first keeper taken in the 2010 WPS College Draft.
Truth be told, Naeher carries the honors of being the highest drafted shot stopper in WPS history to date, as the first back stop wasn't selected until the third round of the 2009 WPS draft (Karen Bardsley, Sky Blue with the 18th overall pick).
So while names like Tobin Heath, Lauren Cheney, Kelley O'Hara, and Whitney Engen may be likely to battle for Rookie of the Year honors, the pride of Seymour, Conn. can go about her business knowing that she holds a unique place in WPS history.
Assuming the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year finds a way to stop her more heralded rookie class on a regular basis, it will be she who scores the most ink.
Throughout her college, club, and International career, Naeher has proven time and again that she is up to the task and made Breakers coach Tony DiCicco's decision to select her in the first round a virtual no-brainer.
Naeher is no stranger to coach DiCicco having played under Tony while with the U-20 Women's National Team in 2007-08 and while playing for SoccerPlus Connecticut in 2008.
And of course, Naeher was equally up to the task of handling a few Getting Silly questions, which she fielded with the skill of professional.
Todd Civin: Wikipedia lists four famous residents of Seymour, CT. Three from the 1800's and a poker player, who won $100,000 on the World Poker Tour. Do you expect to unseat any of them in the top four of Famous Seymour residents?
Alyssa Naeher: I haven’t heard of any famous people from Seymour before, I haven’t lived there very long. Maybe not unseat them, but I guess it would be pretty cool to join that list.
TC: Your school mascot at Christian Heritage was the Kingsmen. Any cries of sexism amongst the girls teams?
AN: Not really actually, we were always referred to as the Lady Kingsmen; so they made sure to differentiate for us.
TC: You and your twin sister Amanda are two of three players in your high school history to score 2000 points. Who would win in a game of HORSE and what was your signature shot?
AN: It was always pretty even actually, neither one of us really dominated in that category. My signature would probably be a three-point shot, just right of center. Simple, but effective.
TC: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream at Rich Farm Ice Cream in Seymour?
AN: I usually go with the combination of mint chocolate chip and chocolate chip cookie dough. I can never choose between the two so I just get one scoop of each.
TC: Who serves a better slice, Zoi's or Alberto's?
AN: Neither, Roma has the best slice around...hands down.
TC: Greatest single save you ever made?
AN: The save I made against France in our first game of the U-20 World Cup.
TC: Scariest thing about a penalty shot?
AN: Them only being 12 yards away, shooting a completely still ball.
TC: You won the Adidas Goldener Handscuch, do you know what that translates to?
AN: I’m going to guess the Addida Golden Glove?
TC: The trophy for that award was simply a hand, do you have any other trophies with body parts on them?
AN: Nope, just that one.
TC: Which was a greater life moment: The U-20 World Cup victory in Chile or getting drafted in the first round?
AN: I honestly can’t choose between the two. Both moments were a culmination of a lot of commitment and work and both were very unique and special moments for me. Those two moments were two of the best memories I have.
TC: Coolest place you've ever been as a result of your soccer career?
AN: Brazil; I’ve been there a few different times and have been able to see a lot of different places down there. And being able to go to the Redeemer Statue was something that was really cool.
TC: If WPS rookies had to shave their heads, would you participate?
AN: If it was for a good cause I would think about it.
TC: You attended Penn State, who is more recognized on campus, you or Joe Paterno?
AN: Definitely Joe Pa. He is a Penn State icon and I have yet to meet a person on campus who hasn’t recognized him.
TC: You were in net in 1904 of 1934 minutes this season for Penn State. What happened in those 30 minutes, too tired?
AN: Those 30 minutes were to reward our backup goalkeeper, Kristin Hartmann. She worked hard all year and she deserved to get some minutes to show for that hard work, so we were able to take advantage of some leads and get her some game experience that will help her for the future.
TC: Any wagers between you and former teammate, Katie Shoepfer, headed into the season?
AN: No, not yet. We just both want to see each other do well.
TC: You and Tiffany Weimer are both Penn State grads, Soccer Plus players and now Breaker teammates, can't get enough of each other?
AN: I never got a chance to play with Tiff at Penn State, she graduated the year before I got there. But it was a lot of fun to play with her for SoccerPlus and I’m definitely really excited to be teammates again in Boston, now at the professional level.
TC: Weirdest pre-game ritual?
AN: I don’t really have any pregame rituals that I have to do before every game, I’m not really a superstitious person.
TC: Does it get lonely as a keeper and do you ever wish your uniform matched the others?
AN: Not really, I always try to keep myself as engaged in the game as possible. It doesn’t bother me that I don’t match the other uniforms, I actually kinda like that mine is different. TC
Todd Civin is a freelance writer who writes for Bleacher Report, Sports, Then and Now, and Seamheads. He also shares his top stories on his blog The 'xoxo' of Sports. He is a supporter of Team Hoyt, the father/son marathon and triathlon team of Dick and Rick Hoyt. He encourages you to support their movement of "Yes, I Can" by visiting their Web site at www.teamhoyt.com
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