LSU women’s soccer started the 2021 season unranked. But, a 7-0 start, including a school-record three wins vs. ranked opponents, saw the Tigers soar up the charts to become the #6 team in the country. The club is led offensively by Tinaya Alexander, who has six goals and three assists already this season. The team’s early success has not been a surprise to the redshirt senior. “I would always say that I was confident that this year would be a great year for us, after seeing so much growth throughout the last season,” Alexander told BGN. “From that, not only myself, but the team were able to put our trust into the coaching staff to bring in positive additions to the team.”
Regarding her individual form thus far in 2021, Alexander said, “I would say a major part in my level of production has been my mindset; just relaxing and playing with freedom allows me to play at my best.” She added that an individual goal for this season is to be consistent and have a better season than her last.
Alexander arrived in Baton Rouge with experience playing high-level soccer. She in the Arsenal youth system for five years, winning multiple championships. “Growing up I always supported Arsenal, so it was a dream to play for them,” Tinaya said. “Playing for Arsenal Ladies Youth system I feel played a large role in my development growing up, as I was playing with the best players in the country; many of the players were on the Youth National team.”
When asked if she has an all-time favorite player for the London club, she answered, “I would say that my favorite Arsenal player of all time would be Thierry Henry, he’d always be someone I looked up to because he made such a large impact on the game and always had enjoyment when playing.”
In addition to her time with the Gunners, Tinaya also excelled with multiple levels of the England youth national team. “I felt honored to play for my National team, because I was playing with the best players in the country,” the Reading, Berkshire native said. “It was all about development for me, because if you play with players better than yourself it helps you to grow in areas where you may have struggled.”
“It would be special to play for them one day, as it would give me the opportunity to continue to improve and enhance my skill level.”
After scoring the opening goal of LSU’s blowout 8-0 win over Sam Houston State (as you can see below), Tinaya showcased her undershirt, which read “Stop Police Brutality”. “It’s important for me to spread this message, it should be seen as a human moral of not wanting members of authority abusing their power instead of a political statement,” she explained. “The shirt isn’t aimed toward any race in particular, as police brutality happens to all races.”
“I decided to promote the matter purely after experiencing a family member pass due to that. I hope to raise more awareness through my platform and help in anyway that I can.”
— LSU Soccer (@LSUSoccer) August 22, 2021
Alexander and LSU will be back on the pitch tomorrow after a week off. They host Mississippi State with kickoff set for 7 PM CT (streamed live on the SEC Network).
How can the team extend their hot start throughout the rest of the season? “I would say the keys to keeping the success going is just to continue to trust and learn the players around us,” Tinaya answered. “Another key would be to hold everyone accountable to trying to better not only themselves, but everyone around them.”