Winthrop’s Aaliyah WilsonFalcone, left, dribbles the ball downfield against Carrebec’s Sarah Olson in Anson on September 23, 2019. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Aaliyah WilsonFalcone had the attention of every opponent that the Winthrop girls soccer team faced this season, but stopping the senior striker still proved to be difficult.

Being nearly unstoppable was enough to grab the attention of the coaches in the Mountain Valley Conference when it came time to choose a player of the year, and WilsonFalcone is who they picked. She also has been chosen as the Sun Journal All-Region Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

WilsonFalcone finished the season with 29 goals and eight assists in 15 games, “while often being double-teamed,” noted Winthrop coach Mark Carey. 

She helped Winthrop take the next step as a program the past two years under Carey’s guidance. So much so that Carey and the team chose her to be a co-captain for both seasons. 

“She leads by example and has refined her skills every year,” Carey said. “Nothing surprises me about her determination.” 

That determination comes from a love for the game.  

“My goal (this season) was to have fun, work hard, and do my best because I love soccer and I want people to enjoy watching me play,” WilsonFalcone said. 

She had to work hard for what she achieved because opponents never allowed anything to come easy. 

“Almost every single game I had several opponents guarding me,” she said. “One of my strategies was that I would make friends with them and get them comfortable, and then when the ball came close I just wouldn’t stop moving. The more I move the more they get tired, but, unfortunately for them, the more tired I become the better and more strategic I become.

“Even though I didn’t like that they were always by my side, they did make me a better player, and for that I am grateful.” 

That tireless determination was proven in an early season game at Telstar, and Carey said it was just “one of many key moments” during the season for WilsonFalcone. 

“We were down a goal and time was running out,” Carey said. “Aaliyah beat two defenders and the goalie to tie the game.” 

The Ramblers finished the game tied, but it was enough to keep their unbeaten start intact. 

WilsonFalcone fondly remembers the game that the Ramblers were shut out for the only time during the regular season, which was also the final defeat in a three-game losing streak. 

Winthrop’s Aaliyah WilsonFalcone, center, gets sandwiched between Hall-Dale goalkeeper Bethany Ives and defender Kayla Lee during a Mountain Valley Conference game in Winthrop in September. Ives made the save. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“For years, Winthrop and Monmouth have been rivals, and Monmouth has always got the best of us, beating us by eight or nine goals every time. But this year was different. While we might have lost (2-0), it was a victory for us,” WilsonFalcone said. “For this game I played defense because some of the best forwards in the conference reside on this team. … I guarded Audrey (Fletcher) and didn’t allow her to get a goal or assist on anything. I shut down one of the best forwards in the conference. That I am proud of.”

The Ramblers were again shut out in their playoff opener, at home against lower-seeded Carrabec, which Winthrop had defeated 4-1 during the regular season. 

“I was sad that our season got cut short because I believed we could have gone farther. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be, and that’s OK,” WilsonFalcone said. “The real reason I was sad was because it was my last soccer game for high school.” 

The next step for WilsonFalcone is college, where said she plans on studying medicine and possibly become a doctor. She’s not sure yet where she will be going, but continuing her soccer career is also part of the plan. 

“I do know that I want to play soccer because it’s what I love and I couldn’t imagine not playing it,” she said. 

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