Going from goalie to goals

Alexa Thomas has, at least temporarily, abandoned her true love in order to play the field.

Now this has nothing to do with her social life, mind you, just a position change on the Sage Hill School girls’ soccer team.

A backup sophomore goalkeeper with aspirations of playing with the long-sleeve jersey and padded gloves on the collegiate level, Thomas was asked by Lightning Coach Chino Cid to revisit her time as a field player, recently, when one of Sage’s midfielders went down with an injury.

“Lexi has good feet, is fast and is smart in the field,” Cid said of the change. “I asked her if she was willing to play the field and help the team and she agreed.”

Playing time was the ultimate carrot, admitted Thomas, who then proceeded to dazzle in her first two games as a center halfback.

“She had a phenomenal week,” said Cid, who shifted Thomas from keeper to midfield at halftime of the Jan. 5 Academy League contest against Crean Lutheran.

After notching one save in her familiar position, Thomas wound up scoring a goal and registering an assist in a 4-1 overtime win.

Two days later, she produced the game-winning goal in a 1-0 league triumph over Oxford Academy to keep the Lightning unbeaten in league.

“I got the chance and I took it,” said Thomas, who is the starting goalkeeper for her West Coast FC Under-15 team. “I just got right back into it, since I used to be a field player [in youth soccer].”

Thomas, in fact, began her career in the field at age 4. But she was later lured into the cage by, of all things, a sweet tooth.

“Up until age 10, I played in the field,” Thomas said. “But then we had no one volunteering to play goalie, so they offered us candy to play. I jumped on it and I kind of liked it. I went back to playing the field, for a little bit, but my first year of club, I decided I liked goalie and they picked me. Now, I love playing goalie.”

But Thomas, whom Cid said has a private goalkeeper coach, said she likes helping her team even more.

“It has really been fun,” she said. “It has taken me back to when I used to play the field. It hasn’t affected my love for playing goalkeeper. I’m just taking a break [from the cage]. When I score, everyone is really excited for me.”

Cid said Thomas’ speed and knowledge of the game have helped her hit the field running.

She’s very smart and she uses her soccer knowledge to hear advantage,” Cid said. “She’s one of our tiniest players on our team [not quite 5-foot-6], but she’s very feisty.”

Said Thomas, “When you’re the goalie, you have to control your team, so you’re always watching the game and how things are unfolding. That helped me when I had to be more involved in the action.”

The Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week also acknowledged that her competitive nature helps her succeed.

“I love the game and I love winning,” she said. “I’ve always been very competitive.”

She hopes to continue to help the Lightning pursue their goal of winning a league title.

“Our goal is to go 9-0-1 in league,” she said. “We have a big game Friday against St. Margaret’s. It’s a constant rivalry between us. Usually, the team that wins our [head-to-head] matches, is almost guaranteed of winning league. So [Friday] is a big game.”

Thomas said she looks forward to returning to goal next year, and she is the likely successor to senior Hannah MacLeod.

But, for now, she is happy to contribute any way she can.

“I think of myself more as a playmaker than a scorer, but I will take my shot when I get the chance,” Thomas said.

Obviously, she has taken her shot at playing in the field ... and scored.

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