On Wednesday, November 11, Alyssa Vasquez signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and athletic pursuits at Howard University. Vasquez will play softball for the Bison! After 13 years in the sport and innumerable obstacles, Vasquez is proud to see this dream come to fruition.
“It’s more than a game!” For Vasquez, this assertion could not be truer. She loves softball, and she cannot imagine her life without the sport. That said, she finds the greatest value in her sport to be the voice and the platform that it affords her to affect social change. She wants to use her voice to better represent the minority community. She also hopes to inspire young girls to become independent, powerful women. Through her continued opportunities at Howard University, Vasquez hopes to leave an indelible impression, within and beyond the game!
Congratulations, Alyssa! We are incredibly proud of you. We are thrilled to watch you continue to flourish on and off the field. We know that you will give a voice to those who cannot advocate for themselves. You are going to take this world by storm, and the power of your influence will be immeasurable. Continue to work hard and compete, in softball and in life! Once a Bear, always a Bear!
Why did you select Howard University?
I have always wanted to go to a historically black college/university (hbcu). Howard University is the perfect opportunity. I want to give back to the game. I want to help other minorities get beyond the game; I hope to help our community out.
How long have you been playing your sport? How did you know this was your sport?
I’m going to say I’ve been playing for 12-13 years. Ever since I was little, it was always super fun playing softball. I always knew that this is something I would love to do when I was older.
When did you know you wanted to play at the next level?
Ever since I was a little girl, I went to college games. I wanted to be on TV. I wanted to inspire other little girls. I want young viewers to say, “I want to be like her when I grow up.” I have always been in a softball atmosphere.
What did you have to do in order to make this dream a reality?
It was a lot of sacrifice! I’ve always been one of the few out of my family who has turned down opportunities because of softball commitments/obligations. I had to do all of the little things. People did not always understand because they were not in my circumstance, but I was willing to give up a lot in order to do all of the little things for my sport.
What are your best memories in your sport?
I won a National Championship when I was 14. I’ve been everywhere because of softball. I have had the opportunity to meet new people through softball. I have been able to surround myself with an outrageous number of people who know what they’re doing and know what they want.
What are the biggest challenges/obstacles you have had to overcome?
The biggest challenge that I faced was probably when I got hurt when I was a freshman. I was not able to play my freshman or sophomore year. I lost my first scholarship opportunity. I had to really push myself through; otherwise, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I suffered an elbow injury, but it was never fully diagnosed. I had to learn how to play through the pain. My recovery entailed a lot of rest and a lot of therapy. I never considered walking away from softball. One doctor suggested that I might have to give up the game, but I adamantly told him, “That’s not going to happen!”
What are your biggest accomplishments thus far?
I won a National Championship when I was 14. I have won tournament championships in Colorado. I have been a part of a top 3 national championship finish in California. There have been a lot of championships. Also, committing to and signing with Howard is now one of my biggest accomplishments.
What are your goals, athletically, for college and potentially beyond?
One of my goals for college is having a voice in the softball community; I want to have a voice for the minority community. I want to break records, and I want to be an All-American; however, more importantly, I want to motivate little girls. My main goal is to have a voice. I want to be a person who advocates for people. I want to encourage people to do what they believe is right for them, regardless of what anyone says.
What are your academic and career goals?
I’m going to major in Sociology. I want to become a social worker so that I can help little kids who cannot help themselves. If that does not work out, then I think I’d like to be a teacher or a counselor.
What lessons have you learned through your sport? How has your sport shaped you?
Softball teaches you how to compete; it teaches you how to fight. Softball teaches you how to be a woman. Our travel ball coach wants us to be powerful, independent women. I’ve competed, I’ve fought a lot. It teaches you to be a voice, not just in softball but beyond. I feel like my team has said a lot during the Black Lives Matter movement.
Who most inspires you?
Growing up, it’s always been my brother. Ever since I was little, I’ve looked up to him. He went to Downey High School. After that, he went to Fresno State and pursued his dreams in football. He was always a competitor. He taught me to do what I needed to do and fight for what I needed to be successful.
After whom do you model your game?
I would say I model my game after Marty Tyson. It’s his system and his lessons. He is the one who encourages all of us to be independent women. He taught me to have a voice for myself. He showed me that I cannot be a softy.
If you didn’t play your sport, what would be your alternative passion?
I’ve never thought about this. I’ve never experienced anything other than softball. I probably would have played volleyball. Ultimately, I cannot imagine my life without softball!
What are your most fond memories at Warren High School?
I would say that it would have to be my sophomore year—playing with my best friends before they left for their respective colleges. We wanted to do well; we wanted enough experience with one another to say we had a fun year, and I can really say we accomplished that.
What is the best advice you can offer to underclassmen with similar aspirations?
I would tell them no matter how hard it gets, keep going. It took me a long time to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it does come eventually. Always compete! Bring out the best in yourself. You are not necessarily competing with others, but you are always competing to better yourself.
What will you miss most about Warren?
I will definitely miss playing with my best friends, especially Lauren. I am able to be around my best friend all the time and share big moments with her. We have been playing together for 7 years, and it will be difficult not to take the field with her every day.
What are your greatest nerves/apprehensions?
I’m scared of leaving home. I think about it all the time. Leaving home and not having anyone around me, especially my mom. I am such a momma’s girl, so it will be difficult not being able to be around her every day.
What are you most looking forward to about college?
I am so excited to live the college experience. I am eager to see how I am independently. I’m ready to be around other minorities. I am just excited about so much! I am starting a new chapter in my life.