Alyssa Diggs embraces leading role in Missouri soccer

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 | 9:32 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Missouri soccer player Alyssa Diggs is a leader on the field. Her voice can be heard encouraging teammates during games, yelling where to place the ball during a pass and even singing while telling stories to her teammates at practice.

Diggs, a senior, embraces this role, but she also leads through her unspoken acts on the field.

She won Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week last week after her game-winning goal against No. 7 South Carolina, and the past two seasons she has been named all-conference first teams by the SEC and the Big 12 conferences.

"I think that, really, my team just makes me look good on the field," Diggs said of her awards. "I can't really take credit for it."

Diggs came to Missouri from Coppell, Texas, where she grew up playing soccer. Chandler Diggs, her brother, played soccer for Georgetown and is scheduled to see his sister play for the first time at Missouri during Sunday's Senior Day game.

"I always make fun of him because I started soccer first," Diggs said. "But my brother has just been a really good influence on me. I loved to watch him play when we were all living back in Texas. He's always encouraged me."

Diggs is excited about her brother's visit and knows Senior Day is going to be sentimental.

"We were watching the highlight reel (from the South Carolina win), and we got really emotional about it," Diggs said. "At the end, they show all of us celebrating together as a team in, like, slow motion with sad music, so, of course, we're all emotional." 

Diggs is a biology major and is applying to accelerated nursing programs for post-graduate. She says she applied to the program at MU and if she stays she will remain involved in the soccer program. 

But if she leaves, she hopes she has influenced the team and especially the young players.

"Our freshmen are awesome," Diggs said. "As seniors, we've taken them under our wing and tried to tell them how the coaches are, what you can do on the field, what not to worry about, what you should worry about, because when you come in, you're kind of overwhelmed. We've all been there, and we've all had the same experiences, and we know how to help them out."

Although the team is 7-7-2 this season and games haven't always gone the way she wanted, Diggs says being a part of the team has meant more to her than any outcome. 

"This team is really special in the way that we care about each other, and we're there for each other," Diggs said. "That's not something that you see everywhere. I'm really grateful for that."

Supervising editor is Erik Hall.

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