Van Allen continues Alaska soccer pipeline to Northern Arizona

April 22, 2015

Haleigh Van Allen soccer

Haleigh Van Allen

She has carved her own footprint on the soccer field, but Haleigh Van Allen of Anchorage will follow in the footsteps of other Alaskans at Northern Arizona University.

The two-time finalist for Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year has signed with the NCAA D1 Lumberjacks to continue a trend of Alaska women playing college soccer in Flagstaff.

“Every four years a new girl from Alaska has been a part of the Northern Arizona program,” Van Allen told me. “I’m thankful for the opportunity.”

Carolyn Savage of Anchorage played there from 2007 to 2011 and Sarah Tarver of Juneau was there from 2011 to 2014. Both players helped NAU reach the NCAA College Cup.

Savage is currently an assistant coach at NAU and played a hand in getting Van Allen to seal the deal. The Service High star striker liked the campus, the coaches and the climate.

“It’s a lot like here and that’s what I like about it,” Van Allen said of Flagstaff. “It’s like a home away from home almost. My cousin went to school there.”

Van Allen is Alaska’s most prolific scorer with 75 goals in 49 career games. Throw in 33 assists and she has surpassed the century mark in points.

“She’s definitely a player that you have to take notice,” Service coach Mark Cascolan told me, “and if you don’t know who she is at the end of the match you’ll know. You’re going to be asking who that girl is. But when you talk about youth soccer in Alaska, everybody knows who Haleigh is.”

Cascolan, a longtime high school and club coach in Alaska, said Van Allen is just one of many top-notch players in a long list of female soccer players to come out of the state.

“There are so many girls going out and playing at a really, really high level. We are a bit of a gold mine here,” he said. “It’s an unknown gold mine. We have a bunch of diamonds in the ruff. But a lot of colleges are looking to create a pipeline into Alaska to get to this untapped resource.”