Passion play

Allison Lipsher scores her dream job making saves for Boston Breakers

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Allison Lipsher grew up in Hawaii and went to college at Duke University in North Carolina.

“Soccer has always been my passion,” she said. “It’s always been my dream to go professional.”

Allison was very lucky. After she got out of college in 2008, a new league was created. A national soccer league. Women’s Professional Soccer. As a kid she played many sports. But she always played soccer and never let it go.

“Do everything you can to make your dreams happen,” she says. “It’s all about dedication and hard work.”

Allison is a very strong player. She said that the best part about being on a team is having people around who are all there for the same reason and have the same interests. It’s very easy to make friends on the team because they all share a common love, which is soccer.

Allison is on the Breakers’ roster along with 23 other players. She wears No. 18 and is one of the Breakers’ three goalkeepers. There are 24 games in the WPS season and some of the away games are in Washington D.C., Chicago, and California. The Breakers play their home games at Harvard Stadium. They use the space along with Harvard athletics and the Boston Cannons professional lacrosse team, but instead of complaining that they have to share, she says, “It’s a really cool environment.”

The weather here is a little bit different than Hawaii’s. She says she misses the warm weather and hates the cold. She says she is dealing with huge puddles and wicked windy conditions during games. But no matter what the conditions are outside, the team still holds its practices. In fact, once there was water a foot high, and the team still had to practice.

Many players like Allison live with host families in the area during the season. Mostly all of the host families have children who play soccer, so it makes a good environment for both the kids and the Breakers players. Some of the other players rent apartments or houses close to Boston so they can easily get to Harvard for their practices. They practice for two hours, six days a week — except on “recovery days,” which are the days after a game.

Allison was born in Honolulu. She has been playing soccer since she was 5 years old and realized how much she like playing goalie at the age of 8. When she was young, she also played many other sports. She says, “It’s good to play a lot of sports to keep in good shape.”

In middle school, Allison says she played all different kinds of sports, including basketball, tennis, and softball. But when she went into high school, she found herself liking soccer more. She knew she wanted to play soccer after high school and ended up getting a scholarship to play for Duke. She graduated in 2008 and signed with the Breakers after a tryout last year.

The WPS also holds a draft each January. Allison says most of the team’s players have graduated college, but some of them are still finishing up. Her first season for the Breakers was a big success. Her team was only a game away from making the playoffs. This year the team hasn’t as well so far and is 1-2-4, with its next game Sunday, June 13, at home against Sky Blue FC.

She never thought that she would end up being a soccer goalie for a pro team.

“It’s all about making it happen,’’ she said. “It’s just like your parents have jobs, this is my job. I get paid to do something I love.’’

Allison’s favorite soccer player is Lionel Messi, who plays for Barcelona and, in the World Cup. But Argentina is not the team she is supporting. “There is no doubt that I definitely want USA to win the 2010 World Cup in South Africa this summer,” she says.

Another big part of the Boston Breakers team is Erica Hunt. Although you don’t see her out on the field, she controls a lot of the behind-the-scenes work. Erica is the team’s communications manager. She handles things such as the team’s website and press releases, she oversees the press box during games, coordinates the outreach programs, and gets all of the team’s information out to the public. She also works with the team’s sponsors.

You might notice that the players are always wearing Puma shoes and clothes. They even have game uniforms that are made by Puma. This is because Puma is a sponsor of the Boston Breakers. Another sponsor is Cabot Creamery. Erica also played soccer in college (Endicott College in Beverly), and was able to stay with the sport by working for the Breakers for the last two years. It comes off pretty clear that she enjoys her job.

“I used to play soccer and I loved it,” says Erica. Allison, 24, is lucky enough to get paid to play soccer for a living. But she is already looking ahead to after her professional career ends. “I want to coach a little bit,’’ she says, “and then I want to go back to school and figure out what I can like as much as I like soccer.’’

*****

“Watertown Day at the Boston Breakers” Now that you have heard about the Breakers, here is your chance to see them play! The Breakers will play against Sky Blue FC on Sunday, June 13 at 4 p.m. — and it will be “Watertown Day at the Boston Breakers”! It should be a great game against the WPS defending champions and there will be games, prizes, food, and a lot of activities before and after.

Special tickets for “Watertown Day at the Boston Breakers” are available for just $10. To order discounted tickets, go to www.breakersgroups.com and use the password: Watertown. And if you go to the game, you may just meet Allison Lipsher after the game on the autograph lane!

(Story reported and written by Brigitte A., Araz A., Francesca B., Shannon C., Emily C., Gemma C., Sam C., Kaylee C., Isaac F., Sarah G., Victoria H., Lauren K., Danielle K., Matt L., Jessica L., Danielle M., Anna M., Christina M., Kaitlyn M., Bridget N., Hayley S., and Terry Z.)

–June 5, 2010–

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