The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Lissi Lonsberry: Going for the goal

SMU Women's Soccer Goalkeeper Lissi Lonsberry. (Courtesy of Douglas Fejer)

“Everyone hit the rollers,” said Head Coach Chris Petrucelli to the team of SMU women’s soccer players. After an hour-long practice in the Dallas heat in early September, the team gathered to the edge of the field as athletic trainers handed out purple foam cylinders used to roll out lactic acid from the muscles. The field cleared but one player was still left at the goal: Lissi Lonsberry.

A swift kick and the ball flew halfway across the field and landed with a thud against Keeper Coach Matt Cosgriff’s foot.

“Just relax,” Cosgriff instructed. “Don’t over think it.”

SMU Women’s Soccer Goalkeeper Lissi Lonsberry says she has been playing sports for as long as she can remember.

Originally from Southlake, Texas, Lonsberry is currently the only person on the team who plays three positions. Lonsberry, an applied physiology & enterprise major, just started her new position as one of the goalkeepers for the women’s soccer team. But as a first-year, Lonsberry made her college debut as a forward. She then had the opportunity to switch to midfielder, but now, with the support of her coaches and teammates, has taken the position as goalie after a fellow player was injured.

With her tall stature and her talent for adapting to each position on the field, she was the perfect candidate to fill in the slot of goalie.

It is the goalkeeper’s responsibility to prevent the opposing team from scoring. Goalies are the only ones on the team who can use their hands and the only thing standing between the net and the ball during penalty kicks. This position comes with a great deal of responsibility, but it’s a job Lonsberry’s teammates completely trust her to do.

“It’s easy to be supportive of Lissi,” said SMU midfielder Gabby Petrucelli. “She’s a good player and the nicest person I’ve ever met and the most positive. She makes the team better.”

When Lonsberry was a teenager, she would often alternate playing club basketball and soccer. She wasn’t sure which sport to pursue until soccer chose for her. One nasty fall as a high school freshman and a broken wrist later, Lonsberry decided to fully commit to the sport she loves and plays today, which did not include the use of her wrist.

“Switching to Soccer was never really a thought process,” Lonsberry said removing her thick goalie glove to reveal a broken finger, already getting used to the tolls of blocking kicks that packed a mean punch. “I knew I wanted to get recruited for soccer, but after I broke my wrist is when I decided to go all soccer.”

When Lonsberry decided to pursue soccer in college she found she had top universities knocking at her door and making offers. Schools like UCLA, USC, Baylor and LSU welcomed the idea of her joining the team but it was SMU that ultimately scored.

“I knew that this school would bring me a lot of opportunities before I graduated and after I left,” Lonsberry said.

According to the official site of SMU athletics, Lonsberry played in all 21 games her freshman year, making two starts as a forward while this season Lonsberry has already made eight starts as a goalkeeper and earned her first career shutout. So what’s her secret?

Lonsberry is very superstitious and follows a strict ritual while suiting up before each game: Left sock, right sock, right shin guard then left, the right shoe then the left shoe. After a quick listen to a Fall Out Boy song, she’s ready to play.

Not only does Lonsberry take her position on the field seriously, she’s also strongly focused on academics.

“What struck me most about her was her positive attitude,” said Dr. Megan Murphy, Lonsberry’s anatomy professor. “She asked some thought provoking questions that helped me direct the information in class to the interest of the students in a more applied manner rather than just describing basic dry science”

Lonsberry says that balancing school and soccer can be tough. She often has to take tests on the long bus rides on the way to games, which also means missing a lot of class.

Since the beginning of the school year, the SMU Women’s Soccer Team has already played in 14 games and seven of those were away games. The team has had to travel as far as Tampa, Florida to play soccer and with the player’s extensive schedule, getting school work turned in on time can be a challenge.

“It gets hard. Any athlete will back me up,” Lonsberry said. “It gets tedious making sure you get every assignment turned in, get to practice, find time to eat and stay awake. You just have to grunt through it.”

Lonsberry wipes the sweat off her brow at the field, ignoring the waiting water trainers had for her and hustling to join the huddle of her teammates and coaches, the bond between all of them clear. A few inspiring words from Coach Petrucelli and a cheer from the girls later, the girls looked ready to triumph over any other team that dared challenge them.

“Lissi is the one who always backs everyone up,” said fellow goalkeeper Lauryn Bodden. “She never lets anyone down.”

After college Lonsberry hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a career in medicine.

“I want to be a physicians assistant,” Lonsberry said. “I just love helping people.”

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