WOMEN’S SOCCER: Alyssa Stumbaugh scores USLWL chance with Green Bay Glory – Bemidji Pioneer

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101321.S.BP.BSUSOC Alyssa Stumbaugh.jpgBemidji State goalkeeper Alyssa Stumbaugh (1) is introduced ahead of the game against Minnesota Duluth on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium.

Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — When she first suited up for soccer, 5-year-old Alyssa Stumbaugh was a midfielder. One position change later, Stumbaugh began paving a path for herself that keeps getting longer.

“I wasn’t a goalkeeper until my freshman year of high school,” said Stumbaugh, now a keeper on the Bemidji State women’s soccer team. “We needed a goalkeeper on our team, and our coach said, ‘Hey, if you want a good chance of starting varsity, you should become a goalkeeper.’”

Stumbaugh made the move and stuck with it, and it’s paid off. Already with two Wyoming state championships in high school and an NSIC conference crown at BSU, Stumbaugh is now the newest signee for the Green Bay Glory of the United Soccer League Women’s League.

“God made it very obvious that this was the route he wanted me to go,” Stumbaugh said. “It’s another platform that I have now to share the gospel and to be a role model to people. I also just love competing.

“To come from (Gillette) — a little town in Wyoming that people joke doesn’t even exist — it’s crazy what God can do with someone so little.”

102721.S.BP.BSUWSOC Alyssa Stumbaugh.JPGBemidji State junior Alyssa Stumbaugh makes a save in the first half against Southwest Minnesota State on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium.

Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer

Green Bay, which officially added Stumbaugh on Sunday, plays in the same league as Twin Cities startup Minnesota Aurora FC. Stumbaugh previously attended a tryout with Minnesota that didn’t pan out, but it was anything but a dead end thanks to her connections elsewhere.

Former Bemidji State teammate Skylar Prentice, a senior on the 2019 team, now plays for the Glory. Prentice reached out to Stumbaugh to gauge her interest, then contacted the Green Bay owners when Stumbaugh expressed her desire to play.

From there, Stumbaugh sent in an application and game film in early March. The ball was moving quickly, she said, because “a week later, I heard back and they

offered me a spot.”

The USL W League is a pre-professional league, serving as a pipeline from amateur soccer to professional soccer.

Stumbaugh joins BSU teammates Megan Dahl

and Mariah Nguyen, both of whom will play for Aurora FC, in the league.

111321.S.BP.BSUSOC Post game celebration.jpgThe Beavers celebrate with goalkeeper Alyssa Stumbaugh (1) after she recorded a shutout in the NSIC Tournament quarterfinals against Northern State on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium.

Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

“I’m extremely grateful for Green Bay Glory giving me a chance,” Stumbaugh said. “Because all they’ve seen is my film. They haven’t even met me in person. I haven’t even had a call with them. They’re taking a chance on me.”

Taking a chance, maybe. But her numbers can hold their own.

Stumbaugh played in 21 games for the Beavers in 2021, posting 11 shutouts and holding a 0.75 goals against average while establishing a program-record shutout streak of 582:09. She was the team’s starting goalie as they danced into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, only possible in part because of

her pivotal stop in penalty kicks during BSU’s first-round win.

Now the success carries Stumbaugh to Green Bay, where she’ll compete with the Glory before returning to Bemidji State in the fall. Green Bay has 12 games on the regular-season schedule, including a season-opening kickoff against Minnesota at 7 p.m. on May 26 at TCO Stadium in Eagan.

“I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity,” Stumbaugh said. “I can’t put into words how much it means to me. I can only put my actions into it.”

111721.S.BP.BSUSOC Alyssa Stumbaugh.jpgBemidji goalkeeper Alyssa Stumbaugh (1) makes a save in the NSIC Tournament championship against Minnesota State on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium.

Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is the sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he joined the Pioneer in 2015 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.

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