Player Spotlight: Allison Abbe of ZYSA 96 Girls Select I (In.)
By Michael Willis
With so many talented teams competing against one another at the Jefferson Cup, it is nearly impossible for college coaches to thoroughly evaluate every player on every team. With many parents constantly reaching out to college coaches on the sidelines, asking them questions and handing them pamphlets on their daughter and the team, the bombardment of information can be overwhelming. While teams from major regions like New York, Pennsylvania, and the D.C. metro area garner plenty of attention because of the vast talent pool, oftentimes other locations go mildly overlooked. Talented players aren’t necessarily seen right away by colleges because of what is essentially regional discrimination.
Maybe that’s a tad extreme, but it is fact that the ranking systems are skewered against less prominent states because of the dearth of numerous competitive clubs in their respective states. It is very easy for teams with girls who have plenty of talent to be overshadowed in the craziness that is the Jefferson Cup. College coaches go down their list, spotlight the top games in the top brackets, and watch away. Fortunately for college scouts, players like Allison Abbe make life pretty easy.
Allison is competing in the Jefferson Cup U17 Elite division with the ZYSA 96 Girls Select I team. Coming from Indiana, her teammates trekked ten hours via bus to Richmond in search of, as Allison’s mother Caroline put it during our conversation, “very challenging opponents.” Caroline, her husband, and Allison were unable to travel with the team due to conflicting school events, but the trio drove down shortly afterwards in time for their first game.
Caroline and her husband had nothing but high praise for the team, of course. Currently the top team in the state of Indiana, ZYSA has competed everywhere and done relatively well for themselves. Winners of the CASL Girls Showcase (G17 Elite), they have also traveled to Florida for Disney’s Soccer Showcase (0-1-2), the Ohio Elite Girls Soccer Showcase (1-1-1), and the St. Louis Scott Gallagher Girls Fall Classic & College Showcase/Girls U17 Elite (2-1-0 and semifinalists). These ZYSA girls have faced some seriously stiff competition en route to the Jefferson Cup.
Playing for such a good team helps with exposure levels, but that’s selling someone like Allison’s own personal efforts short. Though her parents insisted that talking about the team was more important, Caroline eventually admitted that her daughter has been fortunate enough to have success outside of the team as well. Outside of ZYSA, Allison earned the right to play with the Region II Olympic Development Program team of Indiana. Even on a team that touts no slouches, Allison still shines brightly.
“She was MVP last summer for the Region II team in the ODP National Championships. They were runner up to [Region IV] Souther California. But that’s another story,” Caroline said.
Allison’s Region II team actually featured six other players from her current ZYSA 96 Select I team competing at the Jefferson Cup, as I discovered later. As any proud father would, Allison’s dad made sure, and by made sure I mean “pressed her to tell me” about Germany.
“[Allison] played with the 96 Olympic Development Program and they went to Berlin, [Germany]. They played an international tournament over there, and they won it. They played a bunch of German teams, and both the girls and the boys won it.”
Not many high school students can peg that accomplishment next to their name. Most Americans have never even left the United States. And in the classroom, Allison is just as competitive as she is in any other country. Currently holding a 3.9 GPA according to her bio, Allison would like to attend school in the Eastern mid-Atlantic region. Exposure for her at the Jefferson Cup is of the utmost importance.
“She’s looking at Virginia,” Caroline mentioned to me. “[The Jefferson Cup], this is her most important tournament. Virginia’s going to watch her, [Virginia Commonwealth University], Dartmouth, and Boston University. So she has to do well here [at the Jefferson Cup].”
Allison’s resume and great teammates suggest that she likely will.