It can be a difficult challenge to deal with. Think about it. You are a senior captain fighting for playing time. You want to be on the field, playing the game you love and representing the school you wear on your jersey.
The player wants to play. The captain is asked to lead. Sometimes, those two things can collide.
For Michigan senior captain Alyssa Dillon, it’s simple. It’s the front of the jersey that matters – not the back of the jersey. The block M is what Matters most at Michigan.
“It’s always been a team-first thing for me,” said Dillon, a four-year varsity soccer player and two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. “It’s hard because this team is so competitive and has so many good players. You hear about teams that get into fights or lose team chemistry over playing time but that’s not the case here.
“One thing that is very special about this team is that everyone wants everyone to succeed. We are all helping each other and rooting for each other. Even when a player is coming off the field, they are always encouraging and supportive of the player taking their spot.”
And that’s always been the Michigan way since Dillon first stepped on the pitch at the University of Michigan. And speaking of that first time – that was the moment she knew where she wanted to spend her next four years.
“I always loved Ann Arbor and spent a lot of time there growing up but Michigan wasn’t at the top of my list when I started looking,” she said. “But when I visited I saw a side of the university I never saw before. And when I walked out onto that field I had one of those moments where it hit me that this is where I want to play.”
And she has no regrets about her decision.
As a junior last season, Dillon appeared in 10 games on the Wolverines back line. As a sophomore, she played in four games, making her season debut at Michigan State. She played in three games her freshman season after missing 16 games with an injury.
She made her collegiate debut on the road against Northwestern in October of her freshman season.
“I can’t believe it’s already my senior year but everything is great,” she said. “There is a lot of excitement and positivity around the team.”
Dillon started playing recreation soccer in and around Plymouth before joining the Michigan Hawks. She spent most of her teenage years learning her skills with the Hawks.
“Club soccer was a time where I developed my skills as a soccer player,” she said. “Club is a much bigger commitment than high school soccer and it was a big part of my life. A great time of my life. The traveling was a big part of it and it helped make me the player I am today.”
Her career at Plymouth High School featured plenty of success. The four-year varsity letter winner was a two-time All-State (MHSAA) selection (first team) and was named to the Michigan High School Soccer Dream Team as a junior.
She also was a four-time All-Kensington Lakes Conference selection.
Dillon excelled in other sports as well. She was a two-time All-Conference selection in basketball.
While her past is filled with plenty of highlights and accomplishments, Dillon is looking forward to her final soccer season at UM. She’s also excited about what the future will bring her off the pitch.
“I majored in movement science which is part of the School of Kinesiology,” said Dillon, a three-time U-M Athletic Academic Achievement (2014-16) honoree. “I plan on graduating and then going to occupational therapy graduate school.”
The Michigan Wolverines open their 2017 schedule on Friday against the University of Washington.
For information on tickets, log onto http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/2017/6/16/tickets-sow-index-html.aspx