The captain of a soccer team, or any other sports team, should be disciplined, talented, and a great leader. For Mississippi State women’s soccer, captain Andrea Tyrrell checks all the boxes.
This year, ahead of her junior season, Tyrrell was selected by her teammates to be a captain, which she described as super exciting, and an honor and a privilege that she’s grateful for. Explaining her leadership style, Andrea told BGN, “I consider myself to be both a verbal and (lead-by) example type of leader. I think I’m extremely vocal and everyone can vouch for me on that. I’m always saying something. You’ll hear me for sure, super loud.”
“Also, I lead by example because I’m someone who just can give their all every single day, I will give a hundred percent, whether it’s walk through practice, set pieces, a game, you can just tell that I’m bringing the energy. It’s always going to be a hundred percent. I think that rubs off on my teammates for sure, and I think that’s what makes me such a strong leader.”
Tyrrell has experience all over the pitch for the Bulldogs, but she’s occupied a position on the backline throughout 2020. She leads the team in minutes played and has started every single match.
Mississippi State started off the shortened season with four matches without a loss before a mid-October defeat vs. Texas A&M. Tyrrell said the loss definitely stung and wasn’t the outcome they were looking for, but she credited the team for sticking to the game plan. “We just did lack in the execution portion of it, but it’s something that, of course, over time, we’re going to continue working on,” she said. “We’re going to continue perfecting it and we’re just overall going to keep getting better day by day. And I think that’s the best part about this team is that we attack each day as its own. I think that’s the biggest key in getting back on track down the stretch is that we get to go back in the lab.”
“We get to get right back to work. We work on our craft. We work on our identity. So putting the ball down, keeping the ball, playing the ball, moving the ball. And that’s something that we’re going to continue to work on, continue to keep getting better at. And I think the biggest part of that is just execution, but it’s something that once this team gets down pat, we’re going to be pretty unstoppable.”
Despite her impressive NCAA resume and valuable qualities on and off the pitch, Tyrrell hasn’t been called into any camps yet with her native Canadian national team. But, she would love to get that opportunity someday. “Of course, representing my country internationally someday is any kid’s dream. It’s obviously something that anyone would be honored to get the opportunity to do that,” she said.
A native of Toronto, Tyrrell was definitely entering a different world in Starkville, Mississippi. “Growing up in Toronto and then coming to Mississippi, yes, it was a very big change at first,” she said. “I cried a couple of nights. I didn’t think I was going to last, but I definitely took time to adapt and I absolutely love it here.”
“It’s a smaller town. So, of course, everyone knows everyone and it just seems like the whole community has your back. Like we are one big family, whether you are a student, faculty member, coach, anyone on campus, or simply just a fan, or someone who lives in the neighborhood, we just are one big family. And I think that’s the best part about Mississippi state, for sure.”
Before she joined the Mississippi State family, Tyrrell had a successful club career with Woodbridge Strikers. She also excelled in a different sport as a national champion and black belt holder in karate. “I don’t really talk about it that much, but I am proud of it. It’s shaped me into who I am today,” Andrea explained. “It’s made me a stronger person, both physically and mentally, and it’s definitely taught me discipline, for sure.”
She recalled that she got into karate when she was three years old after seeing a karate class on the way to swim practice. Five years later, she was an eight-year-old with a black belt. Tyrrell said, “I really did enjoy it. I said, ‘well, this is something I want to kind of take to the next level’. So I got the opportunity to travel many states in the U.S., got to go to Mexico. I ended up winning eight national titles in it, so that’s pretty exciting.”
When it comes to her favorite Kung Fu actor, Andrea went with a legend. “I’d have to say Bruce Lee, for sure,” she answered. “Growing up my dad and I would watch maybe three of his movies in one day and we would just lay up and just watch him because he’s just an incredible actor, and he’s an incredible martial artist. It’s something we both just enjoy doing when we spend time together.”
After their match vs. South Carolina tomorrow and next week’s finale vs. Arkansas, Tyrrell and the Bulldogs will look to fight their way through the SEC Tournament (both matches can be streamed on SEC Network+). How dangerous can Mississippi State be in that environment? “I think this team is incredible. We show grit. We will not stop,” the MSU captain said. “As you can see in the Alabama game, scoring with no time on the clock, this team will not give up. So definitely we have that heart. I think our ability to adapt to who we play against, for sure.”
“We spend, you know, days, hours looking into our opponents and how we can use our style of play to kind of expose them and we use it to our strengths. So I think that’s something that will for sure be dangerous in the tournament.”