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Stedman returns to role as captain

Alyssa Stedman, captain of the West Fargo soccer team, throws the ball back into play during a scrimmage with Grand Forks Central on Saturday at Shanley High School. Dave Wallis / Forum News Service

Now that the Packers' soccer team is finally able to take the field for regular season play - their first home game is tomorrow evening against the Grand Forks Central Knights - fans will see several familiar faces. Not the least among them is returning captain Alyssa Stedman.

Stedman, the daughter of Brad and Patti Stedman, is set to start her fourth year on the varsity squad, her third as a starter and her second as a team captain.

"She did a great job last year as captain, and I wanted her back in that role," head coach James Moe said. "She has displayed the overall quality it takes to be a captain. She has her fun, but she is very grounded and serious. She has really shown her maturity the whole time and has been such a pillar for this team. I'm excited to see what she can do this year."

"(Being named captain) was huge, such a big honor," Stedman said. "I like being that leader and helping people out, so I'm looking forward to doing that again."

The senior defender has also played basketball throughout high school, but admits soccer is where her heart lies.

"I really like the team aspect (of soccer) and being out on the big field," Stedman said. "It's fast-paced, but not overwhelming."

Stedman sees her team - which includes a healthy mix of seniors, juniors and sophomores - as a well-balanced squad that should be able to compete at a high level.

"This team is looking really good," Stedman said. "I love the experience we have on our side and the team is really meshing well. Everyone knows everyone and we all get along well. That is a huge factor. I see a lot of potential here, but we'll have to find our strengths as a team and work together."

One problem for the team is the drastically shortened season - the regular season will consist of seven games in just over two weeks - which will not allow Moe and the coaching staff to use the experienced players as much as initially hoped.

"Seniors are out there to provide efficiency, and we'll look to use that, but having them play 70 minutes a game a few times a week won't help anyone," Moe said. "We'll have to use our subs effectively. I still have high expectations for this team, even with a shortened season. It's been a while since we have had this much senior leadership."

Stedman does not see this as an issue, however, as the younger players have the skills to keep the team competitive.

"I see some of (the young players) and go 'wow, that is going to be nice to have on the field when we actually get outside," Stedman said. "I think we can be a really good team, as long as we are working hard."

After graduation, Stedman plans to attend NDSU in the fall, pursuing a career in engineering.

"She has done a great job being a positive role model for the team, and she has a very bright future," Moe said. "I see her doing well academically, pursuing her dreams, and finding success in her adult life."