Sept. 13, 2004
By Ericka Laroda, FSU Sports Information
Junior Alli Ferreri has had the pleasure of witnessing an unprecedented growth in Florida State’s soccer program. Throughout her three years at Florida State, she has been able to contribute to the overall success of the program. With the start of the season underway, Ferreri will have ample opportunity to contribute the way she does best.
“One of the things Alli brings to the field is a great spirit. A lot of times she can provide that spark for us. Whether it be in her play or affecting others,” said Florida State head coach Patrick Baker. “I think she has finally found a comfortable position as a forward and she has made remarkable strides becoming more efficient and effective up there.
“Off the field, she has always said she thought she knew what good friends were all about before she came to Florida State. Being a part of this team she now understands what great friendships can be like and how they enhance the quality of life. That goes two ways as well. She understands that about people on the team but people on the team see Alli Ferreri and understand that about her.”
Ferreri, a native of Coral Springs, Fla. has been playing soccer since the tender age of six. Soccer was simply one of many sports that she devoted herself to refining. She also participated in gymnastics, softball, volleyball, track and field, and cheerleading. However, soccer became the sport that she dedicated her time to perfecting.
“I think it was pretty much a process of elimination, because it was real competitive between soccer and softball, but my brother and sister both played soccer so I grew up around it,” said Alli. “It was just the sport that I enjoyed the most!”
Aside from Sarah Rosseau who had to redshirt a year; Alli and the entire junior class, consisting of herself, Leah Gallegos, and Teresa Rivera, live under one roof and have a seemingly unbreakable bond.
“Me, T (Teresa Rivera) and Leah (Gallegos) have lived together for three years now. They are my two best friends,” said Alli. “We’re all really, really close. There’s not one of us who is closer to the other and they are my main support system up here. They push me to do better as I push them. Having them around just makes things easier.”
“Our household is an adventure. We have two cats. Me and T bought cats that have fallen in love and follow each other everywhere. We can sit there for hours and watch them. We have dance parties at the house with just the three of us. There’s just always something going on that is funny. Our house just doesn’t stop doing stuff.”
With Leah Gallegos being a vegetarian, things around the house can get quite tricky, but these best friends try to work around the situation and formulate a healthy solution.
“When we’re not giving her a hard time…no, actually having Leah being a vegetarian has made me healthier,” attests Alli. “Because there’s so many fruits and vegetables around the house that sometimes you get to the point where (you say) `well I guess I’ll just eat a salad’. Yeah, having her around it makes all of us eat healthier and watch what we eat. We’re not so quick to run out to McDonalds, we’ll make the effort. She (Leah Gallegos) makes great vegetables so it makes all of us eat better!”
Having teammates as best friends can have its advantages. It allows another perspective to be shown on various issues and situations. For instance, Alli’s claim’s of being a good singer.
“Despite Alli’s claims to be a good singer, she is not. I am sorry Alli,” said teammate and best friend Rivera. “We all appreciate her efforts and she is trying to get better. She has good rhythm but singing is just not her thing. She sounded better one night after swallowing helium from a balloon than she does normally”
Teresa and Alli have known each other for 10-plus years and played together eight years before coming to FSU but it wasn’t until they got to Tallahassee that a real bond started to form.
“When we came to Florida State we initially hung out because she was a familiar face,” recalls Rivera. “I have played with her since I was 10. When we really started to get to know each other, our personalities clicked. She is very kind, loving and caring. We were good for one another because that made us more comfortable coming up to Tallahassee freshman year.”
Throughout the Florida State soccer program’s continued success, Alli has experienced many exciting moments. As difficult as it must be to choose just one she managed to share her most memorable moment at FSU.
“It has to be our win over UF last year in the Elite Eight. Having lost to them earlier in the season, there is this huge rivalry. Since I’ve been here we have beaten UF my freshman year and having lost to them at the beginning of my sophomore year, and having played in that game, it was so disappointing,” shared Alli. “Coming back and never being to the Elite Eight before and knowing that UF was the only thing standing between us and the Final Four. Having outplayed them and out-hustled them, it was probably the most memorable moment.”
When Alli recalls her emotions of playing in an NCAA College Cup game, she has a hard time containing her apparent excitement.
“I was so nervous! I didn’t want to mess up, it was on national TV and it was like 30 degrees outside. But it was so exciting to on the field and try to contribute to maybe being apart of something really great,” said Alli. “Just knowing that FSU has never been there before and being able to help and put in a little effort towards that goal. It was really exciting”
Making it back to the Final Four and beyond is something that Alli as well as her teammates are hoping to experience again.
“It’s almost surreal to me. Being on the team and playing with these girls everyday, I know we’re good. Jez (Ratliff) was talking about it the other day that we’re ranked above 313 other teams,” recalls Alli. “It’s hard to take seriously because there’s such a laid back attitude on our team. Of course we practice hard but having the program come so far in such a short amount of time, it’s almost overwhelming. It’s hard for it to sink in, you just don’t realize it.”
Alli has very high hopes for her team this season and wants more than ever to be able to capitalize on the vast amount of talent flourishing on their team.
“My outlook is very positive. I think that the group of girls on the team we have never been as close as we are. We have a really tight knit group. We have six great seniors and we have great leadership on the team. Everybody is really pushing for us to play better and we work hard at practice,” shares Alli. “Playing in the ACC, every game is kind of a flip of a coin, because all of these teams are so good. There are 3 or 4 in the top five. This year has the characteristics to be our best year ever already having started out 3-0. We could definitely take it to the next level and win a National Championship!”
Alli Ferreri is definitely living up to the goals that she has set for herself. She wants to be able to make an impact on the team and she has been doing that. Hopefully she will get her wish and make it to an NCAA National Championship!