Sports Person of the Week
Crisco Excited to Coach Soccer at Her Alma Mater
East Haven girls’ soccer alum Alex Crisco is returning to the program as the Yellowjackets’ assistant varsity coach and JV head coach. (Photo courtesy of Alex Crisco)
Alex Crisco never imagined that she would become a soccer coach. However, when the opportunity arose, Alex just couldn’t resist coming back to her hometown high school and taking on a coach’s role with the Yellowjackets.
Alex was a defender for the East Haven girls’ soccer team before graduating in 2016. Alex went on to attend The University of Tampa, where she did her undergraduate in marketing before recently completing a master’s in business administration.
Earlier this summer, Alex heard word about how the East Haven girls’ soccer program was looking for an assistant coach. Alex was intrigued by the idea of coaching at her alma mater and, after talking with Athletic Director Anthony Verderame and Head Coach Jake Hackett, she was offered the job and accepted it.
Now, Alex, who just moved back to East Haven, is getting ready to begin her first season coaching the Yellowjackets. Alex will be serving as an assistant coach with East Haven’s varsity squad and the head coach for its JV team.
“I never thought that I would be a coach, but after moving home, I felt like it was something I could do to improve myself and have a positive impact on someone else. It’s exactly what I need to be doing right now,” says Alex. “It’s a little weird coming back and being part of the faculty and not being the kid student. But I’m really excited to be back, be a part of the community, and be doing this.”
Alex started playing soccer in East Haven’s youth league at age five. As a freshman, she attended Sacred Heart Academy and participated in cheerleading. Alex transferred to East Haven for her sophomore year and joined the girls’ soccer team, ultimately becoming a two-year starter on defense.
Alex felt disappointed when she wasn’t named a captain as a senior, but she refused to let that setback discourage her. Alex kept working hard and continued building relationships with her teammates, while encouraging everyone on the squad to play to their potential. That year, Alex helped the Easties finish with a record of 12-5-2 and win the SCC Oronoque Division title.
“Representing not only your high school, but also your town, nothing beats that feeling of playing under the lights and having your friends, family, and mentors there watching you,” Alex says. “Something I learned from my senior year and all-around was perseverance. I constantly gave my whole effort and was always pushing myself to be a starter. The biggest lesson I took was to never give up, and I hope to instill that in some of the girls and be a positive role model. My coaches had a positive impact on me, and I hope the girls can look back at me as their coach and say that I influenced them in a positive way.”
Alex went on to play intramural soccer at the University of Tampa, and she also was also a member of the school’s dance team for two years. Alex loved living in Florida and soaking up the sunshine with her golden retriever Cali, but she also missed all of the people that she had grown up with, and decided to head back home after finishing her studies.
Alex was notified about East Haven’s coaching vacancy by her former Yellowjackets’ teammate Megan Kikosicki. Alex felt that coaching the girls’ soccer team would be an enjoyable experience and a way for her to make a difference in the lives of the Easties’ athletes.
“I’m excited to be there as a female mentor for them and be a positive impact that can give them advice,” says Alex. “One of my regrets is not playing college soccer, so if I can influence girls to go play college soccer and reach their future goals, that’s something I’d love to be a part of, helping them become great people on and off the field. And to win, of course.”
Alex has spent the past two weeks working with the team at East Haven’s conditioning sessions. The Yellowjackets begin their full-fledged practices this week. Alex says that everything is going well in the early going.
“It’s been a good experience so far. The girls bring such a great energy to be around, and Jake has been super helpful with guiding me,” Alex says. “The first week, I was just observing. But now, I find myself giving bits of encouragement and constructive criticism. I’m trying not to be a superior, but just be there with them, and I think that goes a long way.”
The East Haven girls’ soccer team has been rising up the ranks throughout the past decade, and Alex wants to help the Yellowjackets continue their climb in her capacity as both a JV head coach and a varsity assistant. Alex competed for teams that had excellent chemistry when she suited up for the Easties. Alex believes that team bonding is an essential part of any squad’s success.
“I want them to realize that we can’t win games without all of us being on the same page. Also, when I was part of the program, we had certain traditions that we did before the season or a game, and I want them to have their own traditions and encourage every girl to find a way to connect to that tradition,” says Alex. “I’ve been impressed by every girl’s effort. Every single girl that shows up is giving 100 percent. I see the seniors creating relationships with the new girls on the team, and they are all encouraging each other and supporting each other.”
Coach Hackett was pleased to see Alex jump right in and immediately start making connections with East Haven’s players. Hackett says the Yellowjackets are responding positively to working with Alex, and he feels confident that she is going to be a valuable asset for the program.
“Alex is going above and beyond what we’ve asked of her. The connections that she’s making with the players are a special thing that is going to help in our mission of making this the best high school sports experience that a player can have,” says Hackett. “Alex realizes that every player is different, and she has been doing a great job of forming a connection with each player as a person and making them feel like they are a part of the program as whole, whether they’re a senior captain or a freshman. Alex is going to be a great resource for the girls.”
Alex quickly became invested in the coaching game and is already thinking about how this may be something she wants to continue doing down the road. Right now, though, Alex is focusing on doing everything she can to help East Haven have a solid year as she counts down the days to the start of the 2021 season.
“It’s really exciting. Our first game is a varsity game, and it will bring back memories of when I was getting on the bus and getting ready to play,” Alex says. “I’m looking forward to that first game. I’m nervous about my first experience with coaching, but I’m also excited to learn as much as I can. The overwhelming amount of support that I’ve received from everyone really helps.”