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September Spotlight: Aliya Cooper

By Staff, 10/07/17, 7:15AM EDT

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She's the leading scorer on her team. She's the vocal leader on her team. She can play defense and cut the angle on any attacker. She has nationally ranked speed in track. She makes good grades in school. Teachers, teammates, and coaches love to be around her. She smiles. She smiles all the time! We are honored to introduce you to Aliya Cooper, from our 2004 Premier team. 

CFCA: When did you start playing soccer and what do you remember most about that first season?

Aliya: I started playing soccer when I was 9 years old with a Redoubt Recreational Soccer Team.  Honestly, I was very nervous that first year, because I never experienced playing soccer, or knew the rules of the game.

CFCA: Tell us about your soccer career before CFC Academy and what led you to try out for select soccer?

Aliya: As I continued to play soccer I realized how much I enjoyed having soccer in my life and being part of a team. I continued to develop and I started wanting to play against more talent and competition.  I wanted to play soccer as a much more skilled and developed player.  That led me to select soccer, because the purpose of club soccer is to help you become a better player.

CFCA: What do you do outside of regular team training to improve your game? For example, do you attend supplemental training?

Aliya: I regularly attend supplemental training, and in the summer during off season I go to camps and personal trainers. Also, I practice skills on my own to better myself as a player.  Another thing I do to improve is run competitive track, for my speed and agility in the game.

CFCA: What position do you play?

Aliya: I play center forward.

CFCA: What is it about that position that you like?

Aliya: I enjoy playing center forward because I like the fact that I’m being challenged against the opponent’s defense.   I am excited when given obstacles to get pass them, and conquering that challenge thrills me the most when playing a match.

>>> WATCH: Highlights of Aliya Cooper <<<

CFCA: Would you rather win half your games against really good teams or go undefeated against players not as good as you?

Aliya: I like the thought of winning games, however, it’s not going to help me as a player if you’re playing against teams that aren’t as developed as you.  I’d rather win half of my games against really good teams than be undefeated by a team with less skills. 

CFCA: What are your goals for soccer in the next four years?

Aliya: In the next four years, I’ll be in my final year as a high school player. I hope during this time that my club soccer team will win a champion state title.  I’d also would be grateful to be selected to play for a well known university with a soccer scholarship.

CFCA: How are the coaches at CFC Academy helping you reach those dreams?

My current coach Danny McBride, and my former coaches are helping me reach my dreams by believing that I can become a better player. Also by  allowing me to make mistakes so I’ll learn from them.

CFCA: What is your coach like during the training sessions and games?

When it comes to training my coach Danny McBride wants us to practice with effort, care, and perseverance. He’ll usually say when we get off topic “It’s time to practice,” which means, it’s time to become a better player. Also, he says “You play how you practice,” which means, that if we practice hard when it comes to games we’ll play hard. 

CFCA: You have been invited to some regional training opportunities. What was it like?

Aliya: When attending the regional training camps I was nervous and I doubted myself.  When I realized that I was able to compete with these amazing players my confidence boosted. During the training sessions it was very hard, tiring, fascinating, and every player was trying to prove something about themselves.  It made me work harder, and I learned a lot from the experience.  This is something that I hope to experience again.

CFCA: What are your proudest accomplishments so far in soccer?

One of my proudest accomplishments is being selected to a regional camp, and being able to learn and compete in that level of soccer.  My school soccer team was undefeated this year, which I’m very proud of since this is my last year as a middle school soccer player. Another thing is being selected as the athlete spotlight of September, it helps me understand how much I’ve improved as a soccer player and what I need to do to keep improving.

CFCA: Well your coaches are very proud of you. You are very deserving of the September Spotlight. Tell us about the other sports you play and how that helps you in soccer.

Aliya: I run competitive track during the summer, and track helps my speed increase when playing soccer.

CFCA: What are some of your accomplishments in track?

Aliya: When I was 10 and 12 I made it to the Junior Olympics.   This  year I was 8th in the region for the 200 meter dash, and in the 100 meter dash, and I came in 10th place in the region.

CFCA: Wow! As if that's enough, we hear you do very well in school to. How do you juggle everything so well?

Aliya: I normally have practices after school, and I have learned to use my time very wisely. I’ve learned from experience to balance my independent and soccer time with my school and homework time. After school I find opportunities to start my homework before practice.

CFCA: Was there ever a time you thought about quitting soccer? If so, what made you stay with it?

Aliya: There was a time I did get bored of soccer, which led to doubts about whether I should continue playing it or not. Luckily, I continued playing soccer and I’d have to thank the other sports I play to help me with my decision.  Playing basketball and track helped me to realize my passion for soccer.

CFCA: What do you love most about playing for CFC Academy?

Aliya: I love the competition and intensity my team and I are provided when playing another club team. I also love my teammates and love how supportive the CFC Academy is to each and every player.

CFCA: What do you like to do off the soccer field?

Aliya: I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, attending school and learning new things.

CFCA: We're going to to toss some rapid fire questions. Just answer the first thing that pops into your mind.

CFCA: Favorite subject in school?

Aliya: Math.

CFCA: Favorite food before practice?

Aliya: Fruit and Gatorade.

CFCA: Favorite pregame music?

Aliya: I like listening to current pop music and current hip hop.

CFCA: Who inspires you to improve more?

Aliya: My parents inspire me the most, because they both want me to become a better person with everything, not just with soccer but kindness and friendliness. Also, my former coach Matt Yelton inspires me because he encourages me to become a better player, and pushes me to always do my best.

CFCA:  If Nike asked you to make a slogan for its next commercial, what would it be?

Aliya: “Keep trying, Keep going, You did.  it.”

CFCA: What is something about you most people do not know?

Aliya: In my imagination I’m an amazing dancer and singer.

CFCA: Well, it turns out we found a top secret video of your wonderful singing abilities in the CFC Academy vault. We'll let you sing us out of this interview...

WATCH: Aliya Highlights

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