My Two Allies

December 19th, 2012 | By Gary No Comments

As a coach, one of the greatest rewards is having the opportunity to watch really young athletes grow and develop into great adult athletes and citizens. Over my 20+ years of coaching soccer, I have enjoyed watching and participating in that process many, many times, but two young ladies stand out for me because of their similarities and close friendship.

I first coached Allie LeFeuvre and Allie White when they were both making the transition from recreation soccer to competitive travel soccer on a U10 team at the YWCO called the Rockets.  Besides sharing the same name, they also looked and acted a lot alike.  Both were tall and slender for their age with long blonde hair (people often mix them up on the field), and they were both a little quiet and shy until they were in the middle of a game or practice.  Then they became fiercely competitive and played very physically, especially when going up against a boys’ team.  They both shared a passion for soccer and had a commitment to w
ork really hard so they could reach their goals of playing at the highest level.  They became students of the game but they always had fun doing it.  These shared characteristics are probably why they became such good friends.

Allie and Allie played together for three years before going different directions.  Allie LeFeuvre was a year older and went to play for soccer clubs in Atlanta.  Allie White played on a boys’ team before following LeFeuvre to a club called Gwinnett Soccer Association where they played on teams in different age groups.  At the same time, they began to play together again, first at Oconee Middle and then Oconee High School.  With each year, their soccer skills and their friendship grew and strengthened. On the field they trained hard against each other and played well together as teammates.  Off the field, they counseled one another, vented about their challenges and did a lot of laughing as close friends. 

Both Allies went on to play soccer in college.  Allie LeFeuvre is a senior at Berry College in Rome, GA; she just finished her last season and was captain for her team.  Allie White is a junior at Sewanee: University of the South in Tennessee.  Ironically, their two colleges are now in the same conference and they have played against each other for the past three years.  The friends and former teammates are now rivals and for them, this is the most important game of the year.  It doesn’t stop them from training together every summer to prepare for their season.  If anything, it makes them train even harder and they push each other (sometimes literally).  In the days and weeks leading up to the big game, they are close friends who do a little trash talking and for the 90 minutes of the game, they are fierce competitors who will do anything to beat the other to the ball.  After it is over, they are best friends again, sharing laughs, tears, frustrations or whatever life throws at them.

When I started coaching Allie and Allie 12 years ago, I had no idea where their paths would take them and how those paths would weave together but it has been my honor to have played a part in it.  I may have helped them get started and continued to train and counsel them along the way but their passion, drive, determination and friendship are the reasons they are great athletes, students and future leaders in society.  My hope is that the next crop of young athletes will see their example and be inspired.

In their own words

Allie LeFeuvre is one year older than me, and I am without any sort of older sibling. We’ve played on four teams together and now compete on rival collegiate teams. Since our first soccer team together on the YWCO Rockets I still remember asking her about the scary world of middle school and desperately hanging on to any piece of advice she threw my way. To this day her most vital piece of counsel was “Whatever you do…don’t eat the pizza.” Truer words were never spoken. 

But as soccer went on and we grew up, I continued to look to her as the unwavering example to which I should strive to compare myself. Mimicking her every soccer move from high school tryouts, to the stresses of college recruitment, studying abroad, and recently the measures of a leading college team, I have found that LeFeuvre has never steered me wrong…. except when she failed at teaching me how to parallel park. Don’t worry, I failed that aspect of my drivers test and to this day still can’t parallel park. LeFeuvre is one hundred percent accountable for that blame.

Allie White

Our friendship has made us better teammates because we push each other.  When we were little and first started playing soccer together our coach (Dante) taught us to always push each other … that the best thing you can do for your friends and teammates is to practice hard against each other and push one another to perform their best.  And at the end of the day you can walk off the field together knowing you made your friend a better soccer player.  Allie and I still abide by that lesson.  Every summer we train together to prepare for pre-season at our respective universities.  We push each other to perform at our peak level. When we work 1v1 all summer, we go into tackles hard and throw everything we have at the other. We are both naturally extremely competitive and love competing against each other, and we use this to increase the intensity of our training even more.  Every sprint I run against her, every 1v1 battle, every race up the stadium bleachers, I want to win and so does she, so we never let up.  We do it because we know that is how we make each other better.  And as her friend, I want to see Allie perform her best.  That is what makes us great friends, teammates, and opponents.

Allie LeFeuvre

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