When Alyssa Brozak fell in love with the game of soccer she was actually playing the sport in Ravenswood.
So it is only fitting Brozak finds herself leading for the Devilettes of Ravenswood High in the upcoming 2018 season.
Brozak takes over the helm from Stacey Gorrell, who stepped down at the end of last season. Brozak served as an assistant coach for Gorrell a year ago.
While Brozak’s family would eventually move to Ripley, she has never forgotten her soccer roots and is excited with this opportunity.
“Ever since I stopped playing soccer I was itching to coach,” said Brozak, who was a standout at Ripley High, where she graduated in 2012. She moved on to play at West Liberty before two knee injuries derailed her career. “I was even wanting to coach while I was playing.”
An exercise physiology major at West Liberty, Brozak has also coached boys track in Jackson County as an assistant at both Ripley and Ravenswood.
Ravenswood’s team lost some key players from a year ago, including Hunter Gorrell and Maddie Schiefer. Both were First Team All-Little Kanawha Conference selections and earned Class AA-A Region V Second Team honors. Another senior, Kayla Liptrap, was another First Team All-LKC performer.
The seniors on this year’s team are Jaycie Shaver, Aspen Sheets, Destiny Thomas and Sheridan Hinzman. Sheets was another First Team All-LKC pick last year while Hinzman was named to the Second Team.
The junior class features Emma Weekly, Skyler Varney and Jillian Throneberry. Both Varney and Throneberry were Second Team All-LKC.
Sophomores on the team are Savannah Bibbee and Emily Hunter.
The freshmen are Bailey Galloway, Alyssa Smith, Kelly Taylor and Haley Ward.
“On defense, Sheridan Hinzman is going to be huge. She’s a four-year returner who is very strong and not afraid to be physical,” said Brozak. “Aspen has got experience as well. She’s not afraid of taking a shot from anywhere.”
Brozak thinks Ravenswood will be strong in the midfield area this season.
“Last year and this year is really about growth and progress,” she said. “Last year was simply getting them to have confidence in themselves because we did have so many girls that were just starting to play soccer. We didn’t have a winning season (5-14-1) but the amount of progress that they made in just a short period of the season was remarkable.
“This season, I’m really hoping to get that team dynamic, that team flow, to have the seniors and juniors really start to take charge. They’ve played basically every minute of every game. We can start to really get a sense of seniority going and progress even more.”
Brozak wants to make the most of this coaching opportunity in a sport she deeply loves.
“I had so many awesome people help me out through the sports programs and through the education system,” she said. “They helped me out so much; I just wanted to return that favor.”