The perspective of a UD graduate alumna

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Menacci passing the ball. Photo by UD Athletics

Alyssa Mencacci, graduate business student in the 4+1 program and #21 on the women’s soccer team, returns to the field for her fifth year. Despite having a full-time job and taking graduate classes for her MBA in Business Administration with a Concentration in marketing, Mencacci makes time for the sport she loves. However, this decision to continue playing was not an easy one to make.

Because of her plans to work a full-time job and do graduate school, Mencacci was unsure of her ability to incorporate soccer into her packed schedule. However, playing soccer with her friends over the summer reminded Mencacci of her love for it.

Mencacci said, “At the end of the day, I had to trust that God put this desire on my heart for a reason, and He would provide a way to do this. And, of course, He has!”

Many people in Mencacci’s life have also supported her in her decision to play on the soccer team once again, making it easier for her to balance her busy schedule with time to herself, friends and family.

“Both my family and friends come out to my games and it’s great seeing them there. They motivate me so much to continue working hard,” Mencacci explained.

Mencacci’s company, teammates and coach Lexi Stinson, the head coach of the women’s soccer team, have also supported her desire to play soccer, giving her flexibility in her schedule to manage her obligations. Her company is especially flexible on Mencacci’s game days which she is very grateful for.

“Coach Lexi has been great with communicating with me and checking in on me, I have always felt a huge amount of support from her. My team has also been very supportive and motivating for me. Seeing them at practice and playing alongside them during games makes all of this so worth it,” Mencacci said.

Just as people have helped her during her fifth year on the soccer team, Mencacci has contributed plenty to those around her. Coach Stinson praised Mencacci as a role model for the team.

“Alyssa leads by example. She is hardworking at all times, has high moral character and is always willing to serve the team,” Stinson said.

Mencacci’s attitude and work ethic, both on and off the field, is another admirable trait of hers that Coach Stinson emphasized as a 5th year graduate athlete.

“[Mencacci] works a 40 hour job during the week, comes to training immediately after work every day and is taking a full course load of grad classes,” Stinson commented. “She is fully committed and present in each area of responsibility.”

Though Mencacci is the first player on the women’s soccer team to use her COVID year to play a fifth year, several men’s soccer players have played their COVID fifth year in the past.

Stinson said, “If [graduates] choose to do a fifth year, it is typically because they are pursuing a masters degree. First, it requires that UD offers a masters program in their area of study. Student-athletes might choose to play a fifth year because they are not ready to hang up their cleats.”

For those who find themselves debating on continuing to play their favorite sport, Mencacci said, “My advice to anyone who is thinking about playing their 5th year would be to trust in your gut. I had so many thoughts that were telling me this would be too difficult, but once I simplified it and thought about my love for the game, I knew what my decision would be. I told myself ‘Why not?’ If it doesn’t work out, at least I can say I tried.”

Mencacci (second to left) on senior night with friends. Photo by Alyssa Mencacci.

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