With only a few weeks of collegiate soccer under her belt, first-year attacker Ellery Winkler ’23 has quickly become one of the rising stars on the ascendant Yale women’s soccer team.
The Bulldogs have won four of their six games, only falling to St. John’s in double overtime in their season opener and to nationally-ranked Virginia Tech on Sept. 8. Winkler has been a dominant and versatile force in the offense, contributing four of the Elis’ total 14 goals, in addition to tallying three assists. After her first week of play, in which she netted Yale’s opening goal of the season and two more in the Elis’ first home game, Winkler was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for her performance.
“She came in, knew what she was good at, took advantage of it and has been very good at her style of play, and it has fit in very well with the team,” captain and goalkeeper Alyssa Fagel ’20 said.
A native of Concord, Massachusetts, Winkler attended Middlesex School for high school, setting the school record for most goals scored with 58 goals and helping lead the team to the state tournament three times. She also played for the FC Stars Club team and was a member of the squad that won the ECNL Northeast Conference championship twice, even making an appearance at Nationals in 2017.
A true team player, one of her favorite memories is a game that her high school team won, 6–0, after losing to that same team the previous year. As a bonus, Winkler also broke the Middlesex goal record during that same game en route to a hat trick.
Winkler began playing club soccer when she was nine, but she had played casually for years before. Growing up, Winkler juggled the demands of playing both sides of the field as a goalie and forward.
“[As a kid], I would have played any position on the field,” Winkler said, “[Regardless], my goal is always to be the hardest working player on the field. I think that creates a ton of chances, a ton of rewards.”
Winkler’s drive and determination helped her develop the technical skills that have already made her such a valuable asset to the Bulldogs this year. Her style of quick and adaptable play allows her to create chances in tight spaces and take on opponents one-on-one.
Women’s soccer head coach Brendan Faherty has alternated between playing Winkler as an attacking midfielder and a left-winger. While Winkler’s role in the midfield draws on defensive attention, her rapid speed-changing ability has helped her make big offensive plays on the flank.
“[She’s] someone that we expect to play big minutes in attacking positions for us and be a dangerous, creative player,” Faherty said.
Even as Winkler has soared on the field, she has remained down-to-earth. Both Fagel and Faherty commended her attitude and team spirit. Despite her success, Winkler continues to focus on the future and improve as a player as the season progresses.
Winkler’s work ethic has contributed to a skillful and aggressive Yale offense. Though the Bulldogs’ first game against the Red Storm was a heartbreaking 2–-1 loss in double overtime, the team quickly rebounded with a 5–1 win over Fairfield just two days later, which included two goals from Winkler. In this past weekend’s victories against Fordham and Robert Morris, Winkler continued to get on the scoresheet with a goal against the Rams.
“My goal coming into the year has been to learn as much as I can, to grow as much as I can, to help the team be the best version of Yale women’s soccer it can be,” Winkler said. “The ultimate goal is to try and win an Ivy League title. [For the long term], we talk a lot about leaving the jersey and leaving Yale women’s soccer in a better place than when we started.”
Winkler will enjoy a brief trip back home when Yale travels to Massachusetts for a game against Northeastern this Thursday.
Alessa Kim-Panero | email@example.com
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