In her final season, captain and goalkeeper Alyssa Fagel ’20 is leaving her mark as a star player on the Yale women’s soccer team.
Starting all 13 matches and posting five shutouts, Fagel has been a key component of the squad’s success this season. The Bulldogs (10–3–0, 3–1–0 Ivy), under head coach Brendan Faherty, boast an impressive record and are contenders for the Ivy League title as they look to build on their current three-game streak in their final four matches of the campaign. The netminder has directed the squad from the back of the field. As captain and one of six members from the class of 2020, Fagel is a leader who guides younger players on the team.
“As a first year, Alyssa’s leadership has made my first season with Yale soccer so enjoyable,” midfielder Chloe Laureano ’23 said. “Since my first day of preseason, she has made sure to help the other first years and me feel welcomed on the team and has provided us with useful advice. Playing with Alyssa for one season has been great, but I wish it could last longer.”
From a young age, Fagel loved to play soccer, competing with the same club team in the Bay Area from ages eight to 18. Her close relationships with her coach and teammates encouraged her to continue playing through every age group. Eventually, Fagel captained the De Anza Force to top-three finishes in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 ECNL National Championships. As captain of her team at Carlmont High School, Fagel was awarded the 2016 Peninsula Athletic League Goalkeeper of the Year Award.
In search of a community like her tight-knit club team, Fagel said she found a home at Yale and developed the same soccer “family” that had nurtured her love for the sport back home.
Fagel continued to stand out during her collegiate career. As a rookie, Fagel was tied for fourth in the Ivy League with an impressive 47 saves. Her success continued, finishing sixth in the Ivy League in saves per game and average goals against the following year, and receiving the Fritz Rodriguez Defensive Player of the Year Award last year. This past summer, Fagel played at the European Maccabi Games in Budapest, winning a gold medal with Team USA.
“This season especially, I just feel like I know everybody on a whole new level,” Fagel said. “When you realize how close you are off the field it’s easier to work for each other on the field. When you get into these competitive games, you want to see yourself succeed but more than anything you want to see your best friends succeed.”
On the field, Fagel has proved to be a great asset in goal, with 36 saves this season alone. Fagel is also very comfortable with the ball at her feet, and her defense can rely on her as a defensive outlet. She is the starting point of attack as Yale builds plays from the back.
As captain, Fagel leads by example, showing up to every practice and game with a positive mindset and a strong work ethic. Not only is she an energetic and dedicated leader, but Faherty also said she gives other teammates opportunities to lead. In this sense, she unites the team and builds trust with seniors and first years alike.
“I have truly enjoyed working with Alyssa,” Faherty said. “She is very organized, has an excellent handle on all facets of Yale, and this has made the job easier for me. I think because of how she leads, we have leaders spread out all over our team, starting with our senior class. I am excited to spend a few more weeks with each of them, and am hopeful we will be able to add a few more wins as well.”
Fagel said due to the high stress of the position, she relies on support from her family and teammates to remain confident. This allows her to understand the importance of taking one game at a time while also looking out for major competitors, she explained. Fagel said winning the high-stakes game against Brown on Nov. 9, the only undefeated team left in the Ivy League, is crucial to the rest of the Elis’ conference slate.
After graduation, Fagel said she hopes to remain healthy and continue playing soccer. While her current focus has been finishing this season, she is excited to explore the possibilities of pursuing the sport further.
“To be at the end of October and still competing for the Ivy League title is amazing,” Fagel said. “For my class of seniors, every team we play is the last game with them. We want to go out and give it our all. We are trying to get as close to [the title] as we can, and if we win, on top of the season we have had so far, [that] would be amazing.”
Yale journeys to Philadelphia this Saturday to take on Penn.
Alessa Kim-Panero | firstname.lastname@example.org
Noel Rockwell | email@example.com