Oct. 2, 2007
FRESNO, Calif. - As a freshman all Andrea Alires wanted to do after practice was sleep. Now as Alires is in the middle of her senior season she can't believe her days of playing collegiate soccer are numbered.
"I don't want it to be over," she said. "I thought practices were so hard my freshman year but now that it is my senior year it is bittersweet. I just hope this year can be like the last two years where we have won the WAC. I don't want this year to end."
Alires has made the most of her time at Fresno State. Coming out of high school she was used to playing as a center midfielder but as a Bulldog, the senior defender has played most of her time as the quarterback of the Bulldog defense.
"She has had a great work ethic that has helped her stay on the field," Fresno State coach Steve Springthorpe said. "One thing we could always count on is that she would train hard, condition hard and she always did what was asked of her. She has always found a way to stay on the field and she is somebody that we can count on."
Alires ability to keep herself on the soccer field has put her in a position to break the school record for most minutes played in a career. She has played in 4787 minutes and is 172 minutes away from playing more minutes than any Bulldog soccer player. Rochelle Jagdeo currently holds the top mark, playing 4958 minutes.
Putting herself in a position to play almost 5000 minutes has been a big adjustment for the Bulldog senior.
"As a freshman I was one of the least fit players," Alires said. "I came in thinking I was one of the better players. But I found out I wasn't going to be the leader. Even though I started three/fourths of the games as a freshman I was sometimes inconsistent. But I developed as a freshman pretty fast, which kept me on the field."
Alires saw a lot of time as an outside midfielder her freshman year. She then was moved to center back as a sophomore and that is where she has been ever since.
"She is relatively aggressive on the field and in challenging balls," Springthorpe said. "We liked her tactical ability to read the game. She was good at positioning a ball and passing the ball as a possession outside midfielder. When we moved her to center back we wanted those same kinds of strengths. The things she was capable of doing was ideal for that position."
Since being moved to defender, Alires has been apart of tough Bulldog defenses. Last year Fresno State was the first team in WAC history to not give up a goal. For the season the team only allowed 10 goals.
While Alires spends most of her time stopping opponents from scoring she has those moments where she wishes she could be involved more in the offensive attack. For her career she does have three goals and three assists. Two goals and two assists came her freshman year. She added another goal as a sophomore and had an assist last week against UTEP.
"In practice anytime you push her in the midfield she likes that," Springthorpe said. "Ultimately that is what she used to do. She wants to go forward with the ball and an opportunity to shoot on goal. She wants to be a play maker where you don't get that chance much in the back. She understands the importance of the team and her role."
"Join the State - Fresno State!" -The Fresno State Soccer team will celebrate Youth Soccer Day when they take on San Francisco in Bulldog Stadium on Sunday, October 7 at 2 p.m. After the game, the team will host a postgame autograph session. Tickets are available at the Bulldog Ticket Office or by phone at 559-278-DOGS.
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