Athlete of the Week: Alice Onyango-Opiyo ’23

5 mins read

Alice Onyango-Opiyo ’23, a senior from Harrisburg, PA, and co-captain of the Swarthmore women’s soccer team, has been vital to the Garnet’s success thus far this season. Onyango-Opiyo had a thrilling 89th-minute header goal against #1 ranked Christopher Newport University on Saturday, Sept. 17. In addition to her goal-scoring, Onyango-Opiyo is also critical on defense as a defensive center midfielder. Swarthmore’s Clothier Field is widely known as “Alice’s Palace” for her lockdown defending abilities.

Sophia Vesely: Can you tell us a little bit more about the last-minute goal you scored against #1 Christopher Newport University? What was going through your mind at that moment?

Alice Onyango-Opiyo: At the end of the game, when we were still down 3-1, I was just trying to remind myself that we weren’t out of the game until it was over. Since our only other goal had been from a corner, I knew it was one of the best opportunities to score, and Anwyn Urquhart provided an amazing cross that I was able to get a head on. Even though we still lost, I was very proud of the way our team continued to fight and play until the end of the game.

SV: With a current 6-2 record, can you speak to your team’s incredible success thus far?

AO: Our team’s current success is very much a testament to how hard every player works and has worked over the past year to improve and make each other better. We’ve been lucky enough to have great chemistry both on and off the field this year, which adds to the way we’ve been able to work so fluidly together. Everyone is on board to see team success before individual success, and I think that has made this season feel successful so far, regardless of our record.

SV: What are some of the team’s goals for the rest of the season?

AO: One of our team’s goals for the year is to completely buy-in to our accountability, positivity, and culture as a team. Another running theme of the year is to play with joy and play for each other.

SV: How has your experience been captaining the women’s soccer team?

AO: I’m so honored to be the captain of so many incredible, smart, and talented people. I’m always learning something new about how to be a better teammate and individual because of the high standards that our team holds themselves and our leaders to.

SV: What has been a highlight of the season for you?

AO: My highlight of the season so far has been winning the Brick City Classic tournament. It was super encouraging to come away from the games feeling like we played well and  clicked with our dynamics on the field. The hardware as champions was just an added bonus.

SV: Do you have any pre- or post-game rituals?

AO: I’m not really superstitious, so there aren’t many rituals that I do for every game, but I do try to eat a tablespoon full of honey right before I go out to the field each game. A super intense coach I had when I was a kid used to tell us that it would give us a boost of energy during the game, and I’ve slightly believed in it ever since.

SV: Do you have other interests at Swarthmore?

AO: Outside of soccer, I also do research with the biology and psychology departments, which has been a cool experience. I recently joined as a volunteer for Design FC, which is a creative after-school program in Chester. I also like to draw and paint as a hobby on the side.

SV: Favorite Sharples bar?

AO: Oatmeal bar at breakfast!

Disclosure: The writer of this article is also a member of the women’s soccer team. 

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