Albert brings new heights to Cyclone soccer

Morgan Fleener

Running around a soccer field at 4 years old, midfielder/defender Haley Albert knew all she ever wanted to do was play soccer.

Now at 19, the 6-foot-1 freshman moved from Eureka, Mo., to not only pursue that journey but to be able to establish herself in what coach Wendy Dillinger believes to be a key defender for the 2012 ISU soccer team.

With Dillinger’s previous experience of being an All-Metro performer at St. Charles West in Missouri, she knew how lucky she was when Albert decided to leave the St. Louis area to become a Cyclone. 

“Haley dominates in the air and has been a great addition to the team,” Dillinger said. “She is physical, defensive and is part of a great group of girls that wants to be led toward success.”

Albert is extremely pleased with the amount of positive energy, excitement and dedication that everyone involved in the soccer program has shown since her first day in Ames for July workouts with the strength coach.

“It’s been a good year for everyone to come here and be together out on the field,” Albert said. “We’re ready to play and feel better than ever.”

Along with her own dynamics, Albert said other height additions such as senior Megan Longobardi, who stands 6-foot, will be able to help the Cyclones succeed in defending in the midfield.

With four new freshmen, including Albert, added to the Cyclones’ roster, Albert said she believes the chemistry and ability for the girls to bond will help in developing and carrying the Cyclones to where they would like to be this season.

“The juniors have established themselves as great leaders for all of us to look up to,” Albert said. “Everyone gets along great and has been so helpful.”

Dillinger said the juniors have played a tremendous role in helping put Albert and others into a comfortable and close-knitted team.

“We work hard with the girls to make sure that everyone is being included and accepted as equal members of the team,” Dillinger said. “The juniors have been a vital part of the program since their freshman year and have really contributed to helping keep the team close.”

Starting the season with a 2-0 record, Dillinger looks forward to a crucial week of practice before traveling on the road this weekend for the Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb.

“We would like to maintain undefeated status and want to be 4-0,” Dillinger said. “We need to come out strong and be solid all over the field for 90 minutes straight.” 

Although this is Albert’s first year, she has brought previous experiences and successful moments that will be able to help her with the journey of being a successful athlete in the Big 12.

Earning first-team All-State honors her senior year and being a four-year honor roll member that displayed a 3.9 GPA, Albert has set a good base in being a student-athlete at the collegiate level.

Albert’s physical presence and high quality performance helped in her season as a participant of the Kolping Kicks this past summer, where she finished second in the United States Youth Soccer Association competition in Phoenix.

With the team finishing 9-9-1 in the 2011 season, Albert said she can bring new assets and help contribute in making the Cyclones reach higher boundaries to further their success in the 2012 season.