(December 6, 2014) – Stone Bridge High School junior Briana Alston has made an early verbal commitment to continue her soccer career at nationally-ranked Florida State University starting in the 2016-2017 school year.
“After doing over 15 unofficial visits to UCLA, UNC, Boston College, UVA, Virginia Tech, Georgetown, Miami and several others – Florida State was the one that just felt right. I loved the attitude of all the players, I immediately felt connected to the coaches. Their style of play is exactly what I was looking for,” the 5-foot-10 Alston said. “The academics at FSU are strong and the meeting with the academic advisors went very well, and they showed me exactly how I could achieve my academic goals as well as my soccer goals. Florida State is also a big supporter of the US Women’s National Team and that was one of my requirements – a team that would support that goal of mine as well.”
Attending unofficial visit after unofficial visit – and I mean visit after visit as Alston flew to a different university every week for 12 straight weeks during the fall semester of her sophomore year – became a regular activity for Alston who at first was very nervous meeting with head coaches at the Division I level.
“That process was so awesome but stressful at the same time. The phone calls and visits were great but I was very nervous too. I started my first unofficial visit in October of my sophomore year at Georgetown University. I was very nervous,” Alston said. “All of the visits I went on took me around campus, took me into the locker rooms, the athletic facilities, introduced me to the athletic trainers, had me meet with the academic advisors, introduced me to the girls on the team, and some of them I stayed overnight with the players on campus.”
Alston noted, however, the most nerve-wracking part of the experience was sitting down one-on-one with the head coaches and having to tell coach after coach that she had to think about their offer before getting back to them because the offers kept rolling in.
“All of them had a time that I met with the head coaches, and at first those made me feel very nervous. After a while it was much better,” Alston said. “Some of them made offers right during the visit and others made it over the phone. Being a sophomore – and a first semester sophomore – it was crazy all of the attention I was getting, and I had no idea what to expect.”
For months, Alston had to balance phone calls, college visits and soccer training all while being a full-time student at Stone Bridge. But when the recruiting process was all said and done, Alston knew she made the right decision.
“The more games I played in, the more visits I went on, the more colleges that would start to reach out to me, the more overwhelming it all became,” Alston said. “From Stanford to Princeton to UVA to FSU and beyond, I just knew in my heart after visiting Florida State that was where I needed to be. Committing to FSU was such a great feeling and weight off my shoulders, and I am 100-percent confident in my decision. I cannot wait to play at FSU!”
On Dec. 7, the Division I Seminoles will play for an NCAA National Championship in Boca Raton, Fla. against the University of Virginia after defeating Stanford, 2-0, in the national semifinals on Dec. 5.
Head coach Mark Krikorian has led Florida State to a 23-1-1 record including a 9-0-1 record in the highly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference which involved an Oct. 23 double overtime tie with the University of North Carolina where Alston’s Stone Bridge teammate Emily Fox recently verbally committed.
“I plan to be an impact player for Florida State as soon as I can. I am extremely fast, I am strong and I see the field very well,” said Alston who will play center back for the Seminoles. “My hard work ethics will match up with that of my other teammates at FSU. I believe that I will be a solid addition to the back line for FSU and help them continue winning championships.”
In their 2014 campaign, Stone Bridge High School also made it the last possible game in the highest tournament of their season as the Bulldogs fell to the VHSL 5A state champion and Ashburn-rival Briar Woods Falcons in the state title game.
Under head coach Joan Windows, the Bulldogs finished the season 17-5-1 including a 2-1 victory over Briar Woods on May 9.
The 2015 team – which will be coached by Sherrie Colby – should return Mary Washington commit Lauren Brower as well as Alston and Fox.
“Last year we almost won the championship game! I think this year is our year to win. We have some amazing players that will be on the team,” Alston said. “There are four of us that play together at FCVirginia and also will play together at Stone Bridge. We have some other amazing players that are returning and some that are up-and-coming. This is our year to win!”
Alston could get the opportunity to win her first state championship just over a decade after she started playing soccer.
“My older sister played soccer so it was just natural for me to start. I am extremely competitive and I hate to lose – at anything. I am very disciplined and I know I will play on the US Women’s National Team one day,” Alston said. “My goals and my desires keep me motivated. I want to play in the World Cup one day. I love soccer – I don’t know what my life would be without it. I watch soccer every single day when I eat breakfast, and I watch it before I go to bed.”
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently in his senior year at Syracuse University. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.