By Klarize Medenilla
After graduating in June 2015, Alison Sauve, former team co-captain of Cal Poly Pomona’s women’s soccer team, took her talents from playing on the field to working with the coaching staff as a program associate.
As program associate, Sauve works with the coaches, and she assists and advises the players on and off the field.
Soccer has always played a big part in Sauve’s life. While playing on the girl’s soccer team at Simi Valley High School, she received the honors of making the All-Ventura County Team and the All-Marmonte League First Team. She also earned the Most Valuable Player award during her senior year.
“[Soccer] is the only thing that I’ve ever done competitively, and it’s the only sport I’ve ever played,” said Sauve. “Playing competitively was how I made my friends growing up. It’s always been fun for me, but it was also a way to push myself and grow as a person. I’ve learned so much about myself as a player.”
When Sauve entered CPP in 2011 as a freshman, she was selected to be a part of the California Collegiate Athletic Association All-Academic Team for maintaining a GPA above 3.40, a position she’d maintain throughout her undergraduate career.
Sauve received manwy accolades and set records during her stint with CPP’s women’s soccer team. She became the fourth Bronco in the history of CPP’s women’s soccer program to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II All-American Award. She also won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2014.
According to Head Coach Vanessa Valentine and senior defender Megan Kisslan, Sauve’s game-winning goal on Nov. 13, 2014 during a playoff game against Point Loma Nazarene University was one of her most memorable highlights.
Valentine asked Sauve to be a part of the coaching staff because she believed her experience as a player could benefit the coaching staff when it came to making decisions.
“She’s invaluable to our coaching staff,” said Valentine. “We knew right away that her leadership on the field and the respect she earned from all the girls would carry over to the coaching side, and we knew that was going to help us as coaches tremendously. She has a connection with the girls. ” They can go talk to her when they don’t feel comfortable talking with us coaches. She’s a great go-between between the coaches and the players.”
Valentine said that Sauve’s experience gives the coaching staff a player’s perspective. Sauve recognizes the players’ struggles and uses that understanding to help the team during practice.
“She sees things on the field that we miss all the time, and she’s another extra set of eyes on the field for us,” said Valentine. “She has great opinions and a great knowledge of the game. She brings a lot to the table, and I would definitely say that the relationship she has with the players is the most important part of her job and all our jobs.”
Sauve energized the team on and off the field and gave her all in every game, according to Kisslan, who played alongside Sauve for three years and served as Sauve’s co-captain in 2014.
“It was really fun playing with her,” said Kisslan. “I was co-captain with her, and she’s also my roommate, so I have a really good relationship with her. She’s a really good player. She was basically our main distributor, and she was always giving in that last effort to score goals or stop goals. She had good energy.”
Sauve is currently studying at CPP to earn her teaching credentials. She said working as program associate is ideal because she works with the team in the morning and attends classes at night. She said it gives her a chance to still be a part of the team, while allowing her to pursue her other passion.
“I really like [being a part of the coaching staff] so far, and I never really thought about coaching seriously,” said Sauve. “It may be something I want to pursue in the future, but teaching is my main passion, so I’m looking forward to that chapter of my life.”
Klarize Medenilla / The Poly Post
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