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DeKalb AYSO Region 193

AYSO Alumni

Alex Morgan


Alex Morgan is a soccer player on the U.S. Women’s National team and also plays for the Orlando Pride.

This starting forward has excelled in the Women’s World Cup and the Olympic Games in Rio. We are proud to have Alex as a featured AYSO alumni. She started her soccer playing career with Region 31 in Diamond Bar, CA. Her father was her first coach and she credits AYSO with helping her fall in love with the beautiful game.


Questions & Answers


Who was your greatest influence as a youth soccer player?

“Probably the ‘99 World Cup team because that was the first time I’d seen women on TV playing soccer and completely dominating the game.”

Your dad was one of your first coaches. How did that influence you as a player?

“My dad was one of my first coaches. He influenced me greatly because he didn’t know anything about the game of soccer, but he decided to take it upon himself to learn the game and go to coaching and referee classes. And I felt like because he took it upon himself to learn the game better, it was great to have him coaching me and go out with me for extra practice, extra training and extra shooting. I always had a coach next to me that wanted to help make me better. In that way, he influenced me and wanted…and in turn I wanted to make him proud.”

What was your favorite AYSO team name that you were a part of?

“My favorite AYSO team when I was younger was called Blue Crush. I don’t really remember why, I think there was a movie, maybe, called Blue Crush and I think that may have been why. I do remember that we made it pretty far, we made it through like, the regional tournament and did pretty well and that was probably the best AYSO team I played for.”

Did you have a fun pre/post game ritual as an AYSO player?

“Back when I was an AYSO player my pregame ritual was probably to put on my cleats like three hours before a game and have my mom braid my hair. It’s a little different now-a-days, now I have a teammate braid my hair and put my cleats on right before I go out. So it’s a little different, but I don’t want my mom in the locker room, so sorry, my mom can’t braid my hair anymore. I still take a few things from when I was younger and apply that now.”

What is your most memorable memory from AYSO?

“Going to In-N-Out before a game and then everyone was so full and losing that game and being like, why did we eat burgers before a game?”

What is your greatest advice for young athletes?

“Advice I’d give to young soccer players is to believe in yourself first of all and that hard work takes you way farther than any talent that you start off with. It’s really that simple. There’s no secret to success, but it starts with that self-belief.”

What’s been your best moment as a pro soccer player?

“My best moment as a pro soccer player would definitely be our very first game with Orlando Pride and seeing 24,000 people showing up for our first game.”

What are your favorite hobbies off the soccer field?

“My favorite hobbies off the soccer field are yoga, spending time out on our lake here in Orlando, taking my dog to the dog park and just hanging out with family.”

Carlos Bocanegra


U.S. Men’s National Team captain, Carlos Bocanegra, played AYSO while growing up in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. His first team was coached by his mom and named the California Kickers.

U.S. Captain Had Mom As First Coach


The two-time World Cup veteran has been the captain of the U.S. National team since 2007, and most recently lead the team to its first ever group win in World Cup history in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He’s had 107 appearances for the team, scoring 13 goals and plays can play both at center back and left back. In 2009, Bocanegra captained the team that defeated No. 1 ranked Spain in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. Bocanegra has won the CONCACAF Gold Cup twice with the National team (2002, 2007). He played his first game with the senior National team on Dec. 9, 2001, against South Korea.

Currently playing in Spain, Bocanegra plays for Racing Santander. Prior to the 2012 season, Bocanegra captained Scottish side, the Rangers. In the 2010-2011 season, Bocanegra was playing for French first division team Saint-Etienne, scoring his first goal on Dec. 15, 2010. Prior to the 2010 season, Bocanegra played fellow French team, Stade Rennais. In his first season with the team, he played in all 38 league matches, scoring his first goal on March 8, 2009. He also scored at the Coupe de France final. Bocanegra started his European career in the English Premier League (EPL), playing for Fulham FC. During the 2006-07 season, Bocanegra was the team’s second leading scorer, with five goals. Before making the leap overseas, Bocanegra played for the Chicago Fire from 2000-03. During his time with the Fire, Bocanegra won an U.S. Open Cup (2000), MLS Rookie of the Year (2000), MLS Defender of the Year (2002, 2003) and MLS Cup runner-up (2000, 2003).

Landon Donovan


A native of Southern California, Donovan was a member of the inaugural class of the U.S. Soccer youth residency program in Bradenton, Florida. He was named Player of the Tournament for his role in the United States under-17 squad that finished fourth in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship before signing with German club Bayer Leverkusen later that year.

Landon Donovan, an AYSO alum, started playing soccer at age 2 in Ontario, Calif., after his older brother, Josh, introduced him to the sport.

“Josh would take me out to the backyard and kick the ball around with me,” said Donovan, who joined an AYSO team at age 5 and kept playing AYSO until age 14. “The beauty of AYSO was that you had kids from all walks of life who just wanted to be active and run around and play soccer,” U.S. Men’s leading goal scorer Landon Donovan said. “I started playing club soccer at the age of 10 but I wanted to continue playing AYSO because I enjoyed the camaraderie and the ability to just play for the love of the game.”

Donovan turned pro at 16 years old, when he signed with German club Bayer Leverkusen. He’s come a long way in the past 12 years, becoming the most recognizable American soccer player. The 2010 Player of the Year currently plays for the U.S. National team and Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Los Angeles Galaxy.

A three-time World Cup veteran, Donovan is the all-time leader in both scoring and assisting goals for the national team; he also became the fourth-youngest player to reach 100 appearances for his country. He scored three goals in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, including the goal in the 1-0 defeat of Algeria, propelling the U.S. to the second round of the games. He scored two goals in the 2009 Confederations Cup, scoring against soccer power houses Italy in the group round and Brazil in the final. In his first World Cup, Donovan scored in the 2-0 Quarterfinal win over Mexico in 2002. Donovan has also represented the U.S. at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where the U.S. finished fourth.

Donovan has scored 124 goals in his 12-year MLS career. Last season, Donovan led the Galaxy to an MLS Cup title, scoring 12 goals throughout the season. The team also won the Supporters Shield (given to the team with the best record in the regular season). In 2010, Donovan helped the Galaxy win the Supporters Shield and became the all-time leading goal scorer for the team. Before the start of the 2010 MLS season, Donovan went to English Premier League (EPL) team, Everton, for a short loan. During that time, Donovan played in 13 games, scoring two goals and was named the January Player of the Month. In 2009, Donovan won the MLS’ MVP and Goal of the Year award. He led the team to the MLS Cup Finals, where the team lost in penalties to Real Salt Lake. Donovan has won three MLS Cup championships – one with the Galaxy (2005) and two with the San Jose Earthquakes (2001, 2003).

Questions & Answers

Age started playing soccer: 2

Favorite AYSO memory: I started playing AYSO when I was 5. Before that, my older brother, Josh, would take me out to the backyard and kick the ball around with me. My favorite AYSO memory is that I got to play on the same team as my best friend when I was 8 years old.

What he loved about AYSO: The beauty of AYSO was that you had kids from all walks of life who just wanted to be active and run around and play soccer. I started playing club soccer at the age of 10 but I wanted to continue playing AYSO because I enjoyed the camaraderie and the ability to just play for the love of playing. The games were still competitive but they never revolved around winning.

Advice for the first-time coach: One of my biggest pet peeves is youth team coaches who take winning too seriously. This has always bothered me, and I always tell coaches to forget about winning with young players. They need to create an environment where the kids enjoy playing and are developing their soccer skills. Winning should never be a priority.

Shannon Boxx


Shannon Boxx, who has won both an Olympic Gold Medal and NCAA Division 1 College Cup for Notre Dame, started playing AYSO when she was four-years-old in Torrance, CA.

“I remember the oranges and halftime, parents lining up on the sideline to make a tunnel after the game and Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ blasting on the boom box,” Boxx remembers of her AYSO days. “I learned that real ball skills were more important than tricks to win the ball in AYSO. I also learned that it was ok to get knocked around and fall down while playing soccer. You just got to get back up again!”

This past summer, Boxx was part of the Olympic gold medal team in London. Boxx played in the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany, where the U.S. finished second. As of September 2012, Boxx has played for the U.S. Women’s National Team 172 times, scoring 24 goals. Boxx played every minute of all five U.S. games during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, and helped the women reach the semifinals in the 2007 World Cup. Missing most of the 2006 season due to injury, Boxx was named a finalist for the 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year, coming in third. Boxx won a Gold Medal in the 2004 Olympics. Boxx made her first appearance with the U.S. Women’s National team after being named to the 2003 World Cup squad. Boxx became the first American woman to score three goals in her first three games with the national team. She started all five World Cup games, and was voted player of the game against Canada by the FIFA Technical Study Group.

The midfielder was allocated to the Los Angeles Sol in the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) season in 2009, where she also captained the team, scoring three goals and three assists. After the Sol dispersed, Boxx was selected by St. Louis Athletica. Prior to joining the WPS, Boxx played in the now defunct WUSA for San Diego Spirit and New York Power. During her time in the league, Boxx scored six goals and 15 assists. Boxx also helped the University of Notre Dame win their first NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship her freshman year in 1995.

Questions & Answers

Age started playing soccer: 4

Favorite AYSO memory: Oranges at halftime, parents lined up on the sidelines to make a tunnel after the game, and Prince’s “Purple Rain” blasting on the boombox.

Favorite AYSO coach and why: I don’t remember his name, but I do remember he taught us that real ball skills were more important than tricks to win the ball. I also learned that it was ok to get knocked around and fall down while playing soccer. You just get back up again!

What advice would you give a first-time AYSO coach? Make soccer fun for the kids and get them to enjoy it first, then teach them skills. The most important thing is to have fun on the soccer field; winning is not so important. If you teach the value of teamwork and you instill that early, that’s what’s important.

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DeKalb AYSO Region 193

PO Box 209 
DeKalb, Illinois 60115

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 815-758-7320
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