The 2016 season wasn’t one to remember at East Wake as the girls soccer won only two matches and scored just 14 goals – while allowing 126.
Alexa Bird couldn’t help but wonder if her talents on the defensive side could have made a difference, but that aspiration wasn’t destined to occur.
In the fall of her junior year, Bird suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during a Capital Area Soccer League match and underwent surgery, which meant she wasn’t available for the next high school campaign.
“It was hard,” Bird said of her time on the sideline. “I have been playing soccer my whole life. But I think being away from it for that period of time helped remind me of the love I had for the game. It made me want to come back and make the most of my senior year.”
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Bird has lived up to that hope as the much-better Warriors have already picked up six victories – and are looking for more with two weeks remaining.
When he returned to the program this spring, coach Jon Hasbrouck was looking for senior leadership to help with his overall team message – and he found that presence in Bird.
“Coming off a two-win year, you have to come in and change the mindset right away,” Hasbrouck said. “Alexa has been great with that. She really bought in to the team-first philosophy. She is a great leader who leads not only on the field, but off it, too.”
Bird has also found a way to turn past adversity into potential future success.
During her ACL injury, Bird became interested in the medical field, and plans to study pre-med biology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, with the hope of one day becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
“I probably never would have considered doing something like that if I hadn’t gotten injured,” Bird said. “I guess that was a way to make something positive out of what happened.”
Bird may also continue her soccer career at UNC on the club or intramural level. But for now, she is looking to make the most out of the final few weeks of her prep career.
“Being able to come back has been great,” Bird said. “As a whole, the people on this team really love the sport. We support each other and there isn’t any drama. I was really hoping we would improve this year, and I’m happy that we have.”