As part of our Featured Player content series, SoccerWire is publishing Q&A articles with recently-committed players who are Featured in the SoccerWire Player Directory. The series will allow players to share their stories on the college recruiting process, travel and high school soccer, and their passion for the beautiful game.

In this edition we will showcase Alyssa Gonzalez, who has committed to play NCAA Division I soccer in 2023 at the University of Southern California (USC). Gonzalez plays travel soccer in the ECNL for San Diego Surf. She is an established member of the U.S. Women’s Youth National Team player pool, most recently receiving a call-up at the U-20 level in April 2023.

SoccerWire: What made you decide to commit to USC?

Alyssa Gonzalez: I decided to commit to USC because of the exceptional coaching staff, the environment on and off the field. USC is one of the best business schools and has one of the best academic programs around. When I first stepped onto campus nothing made me feel more at home than USC. It was clear I knew I wanted to play soccer at USC, continue my academics there and be a part of their amazing community.

SW: What was the recruiting process like and what did you learn about yourself while going through it?

AG: During my junior year of high school when most players are showcasing their skills and communicating with college coaches, the recruiting process was slow and inactive for me because of the global pandemic. Once the state lifted most of its pandemic restrictions, the recruitment process resumed, I was able to participate in college showcases again and showcase my individual skills. As a result, I received an outpour of interest from colleges who wanted to learn more about me and my soccer journey. My daily schedule consisted of managing calls and emails with colleges and during the recruiting process some take aways I learned is to be patient and open-minded.

SW: How has social media and being a SoccerWire Featured Player helped you with the college recruiting process?

AG: As a featured SoccerWire Player, the SoccerWire community and its featured articles, social media has helped me with the college recruiting process because not only was I able to showcase myself on the field but was able to expand online and reach out to coaches who were unable to attend showcases due to competing schedules and due to a unique period when we were still facing a lot of unknown globally.

SW: What are your favorite subjects in school and what do you think you would like to study in college?

AG: Numbers and problem solving is my area of expertise so it’s natural that my favorite subject in school is math. My college major of interest is business and I know this will help me and my career path a long way.

SW: Outside of soccer, what clubs, organizations, and/or jobs are you involved in?

AG: I wanted to give back to my soccer club organization and on occasions volunteered my time to assist with soccer camps for the younger players. Outside of soccer, I’m very involved and completed countless hours of volunteer work for the San Diego Food Bank.

SW: What has your experience been like playing for San Diego Surf?

AG: My experience at San Diego Surf has been positively motivating and filled with so many opportunities with lifetime experiences. All the coaching staff at Surf are nothing short of quality and provide support to all their players in their development on and off the field. Surf has helped me refine my skills and develop into the player I am today.

SW: If you could give one piece of advice to a younger player that wants to play soccer at a high level what would it be?

AG: My piece of advice for the younger soccer player that wants to play soccer at a high level would to be confident always. Even when you make a mistake, take that as a learning opportunity to help with your individual growth and to do better the next time. Also compete with yourself and never compare yourself to others as everyone’s soccer journey is unique.

SW: Is there anyone that you would like to give a shoutout to who has helped you both on and off of the field?

AG: I would like to take this opportunity to send out a huge thank you to Andrés Deza, Phil Wolf, San Diego Surf, and family and friends who have been my biggest support system on and off the field. It takes a village, and I am super grateful for all of them.