Alexis Harris, daughter of Ryan and Jill Harris, signed a letter of intent on Jan. 22, intent to play soccer for the Peninsula Pirates who compete in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) and are located in Port Angeles, Washington.
Harris accepted an athletic scholarship which will cover the bulk of her tuition and an academic scholarship is in the works. She plans to study nursing specializing in psychology.
Other schools in the NWAC were recruiting Lexi but when she realized how dominant the Pirates have been in the division, she contacted them, and they invited her to visit. She practiced with the team as it was preparing for the NJCAA Division I national tournament. As a junior college, Peninsula only offers two years of eligibility but they have an excellent record for getting players the opportunity to move to four-year programs, something that helped Harris decide in their favor.
“Growing up, playing college ball was what I really wanted to do,” said Harris. “I always liked playing other sports,” she said. “But there is something different about soccer. Practicing was never a chore. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to be the best on the field. There are not a lot of opportunities to score so getting to the point where you can capitalize on that makes it special.”
Harris began playing soccer around age six with the Preston recreation teams. She went competitive at age 10 playing in Utah’s competitive program with Manic ATAK.
In high school Harris was a three-year starter for Preston as a wing forward who scored 10 goals and assisted on six others in her senior season for the Indians. Her speed made her a potent threat on the soccer field. She also participated in track and basketball at the varsity level.
Though she enjoys most sports, soccer is the one she loves the most. Peninsula discussed the option of also playing basketball but Alexis chose to forgo hoops and focus on soccer. She feels that focus will give her a better chance of going on to play in a four-year program and perhaps beyond. “I chose to invest all my time in the one I want to continue,” she said.
“When I am playing my mind is completely focused there. I love that you don’t have to be perfect to succeed. If you make a mistake or have a bad half you can come out and fix it. The sky’s the limit.”
Harris spoke of the support of her dad who went on to play football at the college level. “He practiced with me even though he played football and not soccer.” She also credits her grandfather with providing a great example. “Grandpa Harris, the minute he puts his mind to something he makes sure it gets done the best it can be,” she said. “He showed me that even if challenges get in the way you can accomplish your goals if you put your mind to it.”
Alexis expressed her gratitude for the many hours of driving to practice and sitting through games her parents and family have done to support her. She also credits her “fantastic teammates and coaches Brandon Lyon, Christina Anderson, Aubriann Bosen and Dalton Lloyd” as well as tremendous community support, thanking all of them for helping her succeed.
“We live in a small community and have a lot of connections outside the field,” she said. “It is great to see people you know filling the stands. Their support is huge. It really gives you that extra adrenaline and increases the intensity of the game.”
Harris is excited to embark on this new adventure and hopes all of the COVID-19 issues will have calmed down by the time she has to report for practice on Aug. 1. She welcomes the new experiences and challenges with the zeal of youth despite the distance. “Preston is all I have known,” she said. “I am excited to go somewhere new and see what else is out there and how things unfold.”