WINONA – What drew Allyssa Williams to football was that her older sister Aubrey didn’t like the game.
Naturally, then, Allyssa would like that.
“I think I was 3 or 4 years old when I started playing football,” said Allyssa, Winona Cotter’s dazzling senior midfielder and one of five Ms. Soccer award finalists this year. ‘State. “My sister used to play soccer at a YMCA club, but she had just quit, so I wanted to join. I thought maybe I’d like her to hate it. We are two quite different people.
The Ramblers senior, known for her exquisite vision of the football pitch and her ability to anticipate plays before they happen, was anticipating correctly even at the age of 3.
Football would be his thing, with an exclamation mark.
Williams, who signed on Wednesday to play football at Division II St. Cloud State University, just completed his second straight season as a first-team All-State. She did this while merging a Cotter team into greatness despite graduating 11 players from the previous year when she reached the state tournament.
Williams also ends her high school career with another honor. A college player since seventh grade, Williams is our 2022 Post Bulletin Women’s Soccer Player of the Year.
The prize is hers after scoring 21 goals and providing 15 assists to guide Cotter to a 14-3-1 record this season. It also comes after consistently being the happiest and most positive person on the pitch.
The latter is a natural for her.
“Football has always been a family affair for me,” said Williams, also an outstanding basketball player. “There are 11 people on the pitch and you can’t (be successful) with just one. That’s the biggest part for me. Also, I’ve always loved kicking the ball into the net and all the little parts of football that go with it.
Also natural for Williams is this ability to see things before they happen. In terms of skill, this is the one that separates her the most.
The benefactors were his teammates. She lined them up with one ideal scoring chance after another.
Ask Ava Killian, who finished this season with 21 goals.
“Allyssa’s ability to read the terrain is insane,” Killian said. “She sees things before her opponent sees them. Her footwork is second to none and she always plays with her head held high. She’s spent so many hours training that she can do these things.
Williams acknowledges that some of her clairvoyant abilities come naturally. But they were also trained.
A lot of his training comes from being in front of the TV, watching professional players do their thing. She learned a lot from these pros.
“I can anticipate what the best pass will be before the others can see it,” Williams said. “I’ve had some of it watching a lot of football over the years, watching the best of the best play the game. They know what the right choices are. But when I see them make a mistake, I learn from that. too.
This is the second year in a row that a Cotter player has been named Post Bulletin Women’s Soccer Player of the Year. Last season, the award went to since-graduate Olivia Gardner, who scored 43 goals and was named the state’s Ms. Soccer for Class A.
Historically, Williams is there with her. Williams leads Cotter in career assists with 76 and is second behind Gardner in goals with 86.
But where she is probably lonely is her love for the game, her teammates and all that football has given her.
It was an appreciation that was contagious and one that will forever be etched in the mind of Cotter’s coach, Marie Barrientos.
Williams simply has a way.
“Allyssa has always had a very positive, fun and team-oriented attitude,” Barrientos said. “Even as a youngster, at 10 or 11, she had that. She has a clumsy side that makes her close to other children. She has a sweet, fun side that you can see from her in the gym, on the bus, and at school. Children gravitate towards her because she has such a way of being.
All the joy and kindness that Williams showed helped to create a dynamic and friendly football environment during Cotter’s practices and matches. It made the Ramblers better.
During football’s “off-season”, Williams was a continuous “worker” of football, taking on the spring and summer with a smile on her face and teammates joining her in the “work”.
Country star Killian praised Williams’ impact.
“She’s always so positive, on and off the pitch, and a great leader,” Killian said. “Playing with her makes you a better player, just by being with her. She always challenges you to be the best you can be. She was a great role model for me and for all of us.