Senior goalkeeper evolves into leader

Zach Beeker//The Miami Hurricane

Seventy games played, 309 saves, 26 shoutouts, 6,364 minutes recorded in goal and the statistics keep piling up.

Senior goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo is the team leader both on and off the field, yet she does not settle for her spot at the top.

“Always keep in mind when you’re not working or not working hard, someone is out there working harder than you, trying to be better than you,” Alonzo said.

Alonzo, a senior majoring in sports administration with a minor in marketing from Carrollton, Texas, is no stranger to hard work.  Since high school, Alonzo has been named “Goalie of the Year,” and has played as a member of state and national championship-winning Olympic Development and club teams.

A four-year starter at UM, Alonzo holds the title of the school’s career in shutouts and single-season leader in saves, goals against average and minutes in goal.

Assistant Coach Nate Norman describes Alonzo as a “technically sound goalkeeper” with good shot anticipation.  Norman credits her improvement on aerial saves to hard work and countless hours with goalkeeper trainer Devon Pierre.

“On the field we can always count on Vikki organizing our defense, and she is always worth a goal or two every game,” Norman said. “There aren’t many female goalkeepers that can come up with some of the saves she comes up with.”

Alonzo is a leader respected by both her fellow players and coaches.

“What makes her such a good leader is that she is a great person,” Norman said. “She would do anything for anyone on our team. With Vikki it’s not about how she can help herself out, but how she can help others get better.  That is the type of culture we are trying to create and she personifies it tremendously.”

Alonzo describes her leadership role as the mediator between players and coaches, and an aid to underclassmen balancing school and soccer.

She believes the most important responsibility as a leader is “staying positive and making sure everyone is motivated.”

As a senior, Alonzo has also assumed the responsibilities of a mentor for younger players and, in particular, freshman goalkeeper Abbey Smith.

“I do see myself as a mentor,” Alonzo said. “I make sure she [Smith] is always going hard against me, pushing me because I am doing the same to her. Off the field, I make sure she is doing OK with school and just make sure she knows she can talk to me about anything.”

The best way to make an example is simply by being herself.

“She naturally leads by example by being a technically sound goalkeeper in every way,” Norman said. “She is constantly pushing and teaching Abbey everyday in practice. There is no other goalkeeper I would want Abbey to learn from on how to act on the field and off the field than Vikki.”

Alonzo’s best advice to young players is to “stay positive and always make sure during practice you give everything.”

“You practice how you play,” she said.

Looking ahead to the future, Alonzo hopes to continue to play the sport for which she is so passionate, in the professional leagues in the United States or abroad.  She looks forward to returning to college soccer one day as a head coach or goalkeeper coach when her playing days are over.