Gateway: Sports

Tides junior forward Gray chooses Washington State

Gig Harbor junior Alyssa Gray verbally committed to Washington State University.
Gig Harbor junior Alyssa Gray verbally committed to Washington State University. jmanley@gateline.com

Gig Harbor High School has another future Division I soccer player on its hands. Junior Alyssa Gray is the latest to join the ranks, verbally committing to Washington State University in March.

She’ll join Leahi Manthei (Seattle University) and Kaysie Bruce (Idaho) as the most recent Division I players for the Tides.

“I’ve always liked WSU,” Gray said. “Mainly, it was just their coaching staff, their goals for the program and how they want me to play. The scholarship was great, too.”

Gray visited Pullman for a week-long camp last year.

“I stayed there for a week and trained,” she said. “I just love the coaching. They’re great and it’s a good program.”

She’ll also join another south sound standout Morgan Weaver, a Curtis High School grad who was named The News Tribune’s all-area player of the year for three consecutive years.

Weaver scored 36 goals with 11 assists in her final season at Curtis.

“We’re family friends,” Gray said. “She’s a forward also, so when I took my unofficial visit, she hosted me in the dorm. She showed me the campus, all the fun things to do. I talked with her about the goals, how they want you to play up top. She’s great. She’s hilarious.”

Gray has had no trouble getting noticed at the club level. She also enjoyed a breakout year with the high school team, turning heads as a sophomore for the Tides.

Gig Harbor coach Stephanie Cox has been impressed with Gray’s growth.

“She’s not as one-dimensional now,” Cox said. “She knows the timing of her runs, where to run. I think in years past, I think is was coaching the specifics. I don’t think we’ve really had to do that. She’s just more naturally aware of spacing and how to exploit defenders, not being offside. I think it’s also attributed to the players underneath her. And also, her confidence. I think she’s playing at a higher level in club and so she’s just really confident and playing really well.”

Cox said Gray also has been a team player for the high school team, which can be a challenge sometimes for talented players.

“High school is different,” Cox said. “On club, you’re promoting yourself and pushing yourself to get those scholarships. High school is about something different. It’s about the team, the program and the community. It’s about the experience. I think she has really embraced that. It’s about the impact she can have on her teammates—how she can lead, how she can develop. I think it takes a little bit of stress and pressure off and just becomes something more fun. I think it’s a special experience.”

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