It’s one thing to make a difference on a team as a leader whose example is set on the field.
But when a player makes a coach better, there’s something special to be said about that athlete.
Green Valley junior soccer player Alexis Kirson is that special.
“She’s really challenged me,” Gators coach Catherine Davis said. “It’s just like being a teacher, where you have to learn to push students forward. She is so talented that I have to learn how to push her on the field. And she’s not afraid to learn, and not afraid to try new things, either. That makes it easier on me to coach her.”
The junior forward was the fourth-leading scorer in Southern Nevada last season with 37 goals and 14 assists. She is expected to lead the offense this season, along with Talia Lopez, who added 13 goals and three assists last year, and Shestan Lynam (six goals and seven assists).
Davis said Kirson’s knack for seeing the field sets her apart, as she is always dangerous on the offensive attack. And when it comes to key games, or big opportunities, Kirson is her go-to player.
“What was so amazing was she was strong in every game, and she really came up big when it mattered,” Davis said. “When we needed that clutch goal, she would come up with that goal. She can adjust her entire mentality to feed the ball, too. She reads the game so well for someone her age.”
Lynam said: “It’s definitely amazing she’s just a junior; we’ve played together awhile now, so we really know where each other is going to go without even looking. If I hear a voice, I’ll know she’s coming, even if she’s across the field. I know where she’ll be, and I can put the ball right where she wants to be.”
Kirson said her years of experience in club soccer, and being led by so many different coaches, has helped her grow as a player.
“It’s such a high level, and you’re used to being around high-level players,” Kirson said. “Club definitely helps a lot with high school season; it makes high school easier. This is definitely a time of the year I look forward to, just to have a break. It’s more on the fun side, because club is so competitive and you have college coaches coming to watch you, there can be a lot of pressure. So high school can be fun.”
That is, until the league schedule begins, and then the competitive juices start flowing. Last year, Coronado was a thorn in the Gators’ side. The Cougars defeated Green Valley three times during the regular season, then topped the Gators 2-1 for the Sunrise Region title.
With the Cougars graduating a good portion of their roster, including Gatorade Player of the Year Michaela Morris, Green Valley looks to regain control in the Southeast League.
“We definitely know what teams to look out for,” Kirson said. “The buildup and practices before those games are definitely spot on, and we always make sure we’re working really hard. This year the big thing is, we really talked about being committed and putting in 100 percent effort. If everyone puts in 100 percent, we think we have a really good shot at beating our rivals.”