By Gianna Addario
---- — Salem’s Alix Bryant has always let her skills on the soccer field speak for themselves.
Over the past three seasons, Bryant has been a defensive genius in the midfield for the Witches, covering the top players in the Northeastern Conference — and the college scouts took note of it.
Bryant, who will wrap up her junior year in school this spring, recently gave a verbal commitment to attend the University of Hartford in the fall of 2014.
“I was looking at a couple of other schools, but the University of Hartford seemed like a good fit for me,” said Bryant. “I had a chance to visit the campus and meet the coach and players. I was able to watch a few scrimmages and I liked their style of play. They play a similar possession based game, like we do on my Aztec club team and I could relate to that style.”
Bryant, 17, joined Aztec Soccer after her high school soccer season wrapped up in November and gained even more college exposure. With help from her club coach Dushawne Simpson, Bryant was able to get in touch with several college coaches, before making her decision to play for the Division 1 Hawks.
The Hawks went 11-5-3 last season and lost to Stony Brook in the America East Finals in November. Head coach John Natale, who Bryant met with several times and corresponds with through email, has guided the Hawks to five America East Championship appearances and one trip to the NCAA Tournament, and Bryant is sure to be a perfect fit in the program.
A two-time NEC all-star, she’ll reprise her role as captain again next season for the Witches. Bryant has played every minute of every game since her freshman season.
“She has taken on any challenge that I have asked of her, playing on defense and midfield, taking our free kicks and showing a never-give-up attitude for her teammates to follow,” said Salem head coach Fred Day. “Alix has been blessed with tremendous athleticism and continues to grow and improve her soccer skills. She has been a quiet leader most of the time, choosing to lead by example with her work ethic and dedication to team.
“Over the last three years Alix has taken on some of the best strikers in our league, trying to cover the likes of Corey Persson and Hayley Dowd.”
Though Bryant has played more of a defensive style of play on her high school team, she has become more offensive minded since joining Aztec.
“I’ve played in the back most of my life,” noted Bryant. “But I’ve started to explore more offensive opportunities to become a scoring threat. l’ve enjoyed the development and have gotten better because of it.”
Bryant will be eligible to officially sign in February of her senior year, though she is still relieved the process is already behind her.
“It’s very exciting to not have to worry about it anymore,” she said of applying. “The actual decision itself is scary at first because it’s such a big commitment, but after I analyzed it a little bit it got easier.”