After scoring nearly 100 goals in her high school career at Yorktown High School, Alyssa Francese decided to stay in New York for her college career and enroll at Stony Brook. Now one of the greatest players in program history, it’s fair to say that her choice has worked out well for herself and the school.
Alyssa’s been a star since she stepped on campus in 2017, scoring nine goals in each of her first two seasons before stepping up to 12 goals as a junior in 2019. That production has her in the top five in school history for career goals and points. “It is awesome to me to be able to look at these stats and see my name up there in the top 5,” Francese told BGN. “The goal was to do my best in my time here and reaching these goals along the way was definitely always a thought. It challenges me to do more and give more in order to accomplish them.”
Her resume includes 2017 America East All-Rookie Team, 2019 America East Striker of the Year (1st in program history), and United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-American (1st in program history). She also received the America East Presidential Scholar-Athlete Award and is a Senior CLASS Award candidate.
Ahead of this season, Francese added a couple of more acknowledgments to that list as she was named to the MAC Hermann watch list and the Top Drawer Soccer’s Preseason Top 100 players. “While I was honored to be part of both these accolades, I have honestly moved on from thinking anything of them once the season started,” she explained. “I turn my focus to each separate day and try to give my best effort. I haven’t let them put any added pressure on me.”
On the pitch, her proven track record of putting the ball in the net makes her the focus of every opposing team’s game plan defensively. “With being a top target for opposing teams, I enjoy it a lot,” she said. “It gives me a challenge each game to win the battle and show what I am capable of but it helps knowing that I have another 10 girls on the field behind me that can get the job done.”
Following two losses to start the season, Francese and her teammates have guided Stony Brook to four straight victories, including a 3-1 win over Maine last weekend. Alyssa scored and assisted in the match and was named America East Offensive Player of Week. She has scored in all four of those consecutive wins for the Seawolves, bringing her season total to five.
— Stony Brook Women’s Soccer (@StonyBrookWSOC) March 30, 2021
“Going into conference play we turned the focus on ourselves and doing what we can do best in executing a game plan,” she said about getting the season back on track. “I think that this played a critical part in changing the outcomes of games following our openers. I also think that we have placed more emphasis on spending more time together outside of soccer.”
“The weather has gotten nicer so we have been able to meet up with each other outside, wearing masks, and in a socially distanced environment more easily than at the beginning of the season.”
With two matches left on the regular season schedule, Francese and Co. will be looking to finish the season strong. “The key will be to continue to work on what we can do best on the field and make adjustments and improvements to the areas we know we need to be better in while also staying connected as a team off the field,” she said.
Next up for Stony Brook is an in-state matchup vs. UAlbany on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 2 PM ET and can be streamed live here.
As a graduate student thriving in her senior soccer season, Francese is able to reflect on her decision to choose Stony Brook back in 2017. She said, “The top priority was to stay as close to home as I could while being able to compete at a top level. My mom is my absolute #1 die-hard fan in the world and being close enough for her to come watch me was super important to me.”
“The location and New York pace of life around Stony Brook makes it a special place for me, I can be home in 90 min and also have other family just down the road from campus.”
Alyssa said she’s not that into music, but her top two New York musical artists would be Nicki Minaj and Billy Joel. With her home state known for its pizza, Francese said, “Crestwood Pizzeria in Tuckahoe, NY just outside the city is my favorite place to grab any slice. It is my family’s pizzeria so it hands down takes the win in all categories. My go-to order is penne vodka or a buffalo chicken slice.”
The proud New Yorker will continue to cement her legacy on Long Island next season as she will be taking advantage of the additional fifth year that the NCAA has offered student-athletes due to COVID-19. Regarding that decision, she said, “It is something that I was super excited to have offered to me and I jumped at the opportunity instantly. I want to go into a career in coaching so this opportunity also allowed me to begin an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Coaching during my extra time at Stony Brook.”