Derry senior doesn’t need high school soccer to earn scholarship to Robert Morris

Tuesday, July 9, 2024 | 11:01 AM

Derry doesn’t have a girls soccer team. But the school has at least one outstanding girls soccer player.

A Division I player, at that.

Alayna Williams, a rising senior who plays for and trains with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Developmental Academy, will continue her playing career at Robert Morris.

Williams, a three-sport athlete, opted to solely play club soccer, although she could have played for Derry’s co-ed team.

Instead, she made inroads to the Riverhounds’ ECNL and USL teams, the latter of which is a rung to the pre-professional level. She has been with the Hounds for eight years.

Williams plays midfielder and defender in club, showing a knack for producing goals and stopping them, but RMU likes her as a midfielder.

“I had a couple other offers, but what made me choose RMU was that it made me feel most wanted there,” Williams said. “It wasn’t really a school that I first looked into, but once Coach (Michelle) Rick reached out to me, I looked into the school and it seemed to check all my boxes. It was a place where I felt that I could grow athletically and academically, and it was a place where I felt comfortable and could see myself being at for the next four years.”

Williams said she made an immediate connection with Rick, who was named coach of the Colonials in February.

“When I started talking to coach Rick, I automatically felt really comfortable texting her and I could tell that she was really excited for me to be there,” Williams said. “I think that is one of the most important things.”

As for her other sports, Williams is a three-year starter in volleyball as a first team all-section outside hitter and a three-time section champion and a WPIAL medalist in track and field, primarily competing in the 400-meter run and relays.

She said high-level competition in her age range led to the belief she could play Division I soccer.

“I was surrounded by such good players that were already going Division I or players that were on the U.S. youth national team or went to their training camps,” Williams said. “Being around these players and getting to play with them, I got a lot better and saw that I was good enough to play Division I soccer, so I started to reach out to those schools.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at


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