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The Perfect Year

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Angelina Anderson is an astounding personality on and off the field. She’s a student-athlete at UC Berkeley where she’s the starting goalkeeper for the Golden Bears. Although her first year at Berkeley was shortened by Covid-19, she accumulated accolades this past fall at an astonishing rate. It’s difficult to even include all of them without causing the page to overflow.

Angelina's Most Recent Accomplishments:

  • National Freshman of the year

  • Ranked #1 Freshman in the U.S. by TopDrawerSoccer

  • Ranked #1 Freshman Goalkeeper in the U.S. by TopDrawerSoccer

  • PAC 12 Goalie of the year

  • PAC 12 Freshman of the year

  • First Team All Pac 12

  • Starting goalkeeper and captain for the Under-17 United States Women’s National Team at the 2018 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay

  • Was also on the U.S. roster for the Under-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France during the summer of 2018

  • United Soccer Coaches’ All-American

  • TopDrawerSoccer All-American

  • USA TODAY All-American

Angelina is no ordinary soccer player. A highly accomplished athlete who performs at a high level on and off the field, Angelina holds a 3.75 GPA while majoring in Psychology and minoring in English at UC Berkeley. We only talked for 45 minutes, but I was still able to truly glimpse into the mind and life of one of our nation's best. As we talked, some of her personality might have even rubbed off on me. By the end of the interview I felt the overwhelming urge to run through a brick wall. She lives a fast paced, action filled life you might expect of a great athlete. As you read, be careful not to blink, as you might miss the astounding athlete, student, and person that is Angelina Anderson.

Angelina: Let’s get started!

Richmond: To start out, just tell us a little bit about yourself. Just a brief overview of things like your major, maybe your siblings, or even your hometown.

Angelina: I’m Angelina Anderson. I’m from Danville, California; it’s a small town in Northern California. It’s cute. I live there with my mom half the time and my dad half the time. I don’t have any siblings, unfortunately. I always wished that I had a brother or sister. It was kind of boring being an only child. *laughs*

Richmond: You don’t want any. *laughs*

Angelina: That’s what everyone says, but I feel like you always want what you don’t have— you know? So, yeah, a little bit about me. I’m a Psych major at Berkeley and I really love my psych journey so far, the classes that I’ve taken. But, you know I’m open to change and I probably will change my mind a little bit over the years about what major I want to stick with. I don't really know exactly what profession I want to go into quite yet, so I’m just kind of going with the flow.

Other than that, soccer has just been a really big part of my life. Ever since I was 7. To say it’s a big part is an understatement. It pretty much is my life. I’ve loved my past, my first season at Cal. Before this season I played with the U-17 and U-20 women’s national team and that was an amazing experience as well. With soccer, I’m just grateful for all these opportunities and all these successes and I’m just gonna keep riding the wave.

Richmond: So, was this your first time away from home for a long time?

Angelina: As far as being away for a long time, like months on end, yeah, but Berkeley is only about 30 minutes away from my hometown. It’s still definitely a completely different world living in Berkeley as opposed to Danville. I don’t know if you know anything about the city of Berkeley, but I grew up in a really small, sheltered, very affluent area that no one really gets out much and I think in me going to Berkeley I really wanted somewhere that was gonna be brand new to me. It definitely gave me that this year. Lots of amazing experiences, amazing people, different kinds of things I would never see outside of my hometown. It’s safe to say that I love it there.

A map highlighting Danville, California.

This was the first time being away from home for months on end. I do think on the national team I got a lot of experience with being in different countries and traveling every two weeks, for two weeks at a time. So being or getting homesick wasn’t really an issue for me, but I was also super close to home so my parents got to come to all my games which was really nice.

Richmond: It’s definitely hard to adjust to for some people. For me, I’m from rural Georgia, and I attend college in Philadelphia. It’s extremely different. It was my first time being away from home for a few months. Did you ever feel that transitioning affected you with your athletics or academics at all?

Angelina: As far as getting homesick, no, because I think a lot of my athletic career has been about playing in a lot of different places and having to learn how to get my routine down no matter where I am I always have to get my head right. No matter where I am, I just rely on having that drive within me. It doesn’t matter where I am, as long as I have that drive right here. *points to self*

I think that having those experiences before college really helped me with that piece.

In terms of academics— academics at Berkeley are definitely challenging. I’ve always been a bit of a nerd though— *laughs* I love my classes at Berkeley. College is a lot different from high school and I definitely like this style better. With academics, I think it was definitely challenging, but I don’t know if homesickness is the right word for the challenge. It’s definitely just something you have to adjust to.

Richmond: When you were transitioning were there people who helped you? What people made the biggest impact and helped you adjust the most?

Angelina: Definitely my teammates. I’m just around them 24/7. As soon as I came in for preseason it was like I’m just immersed in the team culture right away so it made it simple. It was almost like baptism by fire. You’ve gotta get into the culture somehow and start making friends and relationships on the team. I’m around those girls every day for a few hours. They’re the ones helping me get to my classes and then the next day I’m at training with them and we’re physical testing and all this stuff so it’s like those are just the people I’m around the most, so I think they had the biggest impact on me.

I got lucky with a really amazing senior class this past year. Jordan Elliot, Abby Kim— she played for the U-20 Women’s National Team and she’s now playing at Orlando Pride professionally. We just had a really good group of leaders that really welcomed me into the team and definitely made the transition more seamless.

Angelina having fun with her teammates!

Richmond: Yeah, like when we were starting out, practice was really difficult right off the bat. But then at the same time, spending all that time with the same people every day, it brings you really close together.

Angelina: Yeah, it’s like you’re all going through the same thing together. And I know they’ve all been through what I’ve been through, so I definitely leaned on them when I had questions.

Richmond: For sure, during those times what was your typical day like? For us, we’d get up around 5:50, jog a mile and a half to practice, row, classes, and then run to the river again.

Angelina: In the preseason, we had double days. Where we would lift or do fitness in the morning and then play soccer in the afternoon. That was before school started, but when school started and we were in season my days started when I’d wake up around 7. I’d usually go to treatment and get some work done by our trainers. Just so I was feeling good to go and keeping my body healthy because the season is really long. You just have to kinda make that a priority even though it sucks having to get up earlier. But yeah, I’d go to treatment and then go off to practice. Some days we would just have a field session— other days we’d have field and weight sessions.

After those sometimes I wouldn’t really have much time to shower, so sometimes I had to just rush to class. It’s always funny. Like— you can always tell who the athletes are in a big lecture hall. They’re always running in with like a minute left and they’re sweating and all frazzled. That was definitely me a few times. So yeah, I’d get to class, try and make it through without falling asleep and get home, do homework, go to bed then wake up and do it all over again.

It definitely gets a little monotonous when you’re going through it day after day, but it’s totally worth it.

Richmond: Yeah, definitely. How would you go on to describe your year then? Would you say it’s just hard all the time?

Angelina: I mean I don’t have enough amazing things to say about Cal and about my first season and first year. I loved it so much. I can’t wait to get back. I’ve already moved back into Berkeley. I just want to be back, and for things to be back to normal. As far as the season goes, it was my first college season so it was challenging, it was long, but I think that might just be because it was my first time experiencing it. I mean, I didn’t really know what to expect. It was definitely long but it's a totally different experience from the National Team, from high school or anything. You’re just in this new world with all new people and for me, it was just super exciting being able to experience something new and meet all these amazing people and play with amazing athletes next to me, and play against some of the best competition in women’s soccer.

I honestly don’t have enough great things to say about Cal, my team, everything. It was the perfect year for me, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Richmond: You've mentioned the length of your season a few times, how long is it?

Angelina: Preseason starts in August. The first week of August, and then depending on how far you go in the tournament you can go all the way into the beginning of December. We didn’t make it that far this year. I think our season ended early-mid November. We made it to the first round of the tournament and lost, unfortunately. It’s a long one for sure.

Richmond: For sure, so your season ended before the Covid, but did the virus still end up affecting your freshman experience in any way? I know we had to go home early and that definitely isn’t fun.

Angelina: Yeah, it did. We were in our spring season. We’re a fall sport usually, but we were in our spring off-season. Just training every day. I think that at the beginning nobody expected the virus to be that big of a deal. Like at first I was like “You know I could use a week or two off from soccer.” I didn’t realize or even understand how big and crazy it was gonna get. It definitely took a big toll on my freshman experience. Coming home early and spring season. We’re still training every day, but there’s not as— there’s just a social connection aspect that I miss having with my team. That was just kind of a bummer and I feel like that was the time that I was really starting to get settled into my life, routine, and college. So it was just kind of a bummer, and coming home was just a different world after living at school for so long. I guess I didn’t realize that either. It was a bummer to have to come home.

Richmond: Right— the first thing I had to do when I came home was do the dishes. *laughs*

Angelina: After a while, I was like “Yeaaah I need to go back to school.” *laughs*

Richmond: Yeah, for us we have two seasons. The spring season is my favorite. I don’t know how much you know about rowing, but the fall is long distance (5ks & 6ks) and the spring season is 2000 meters so it’s essentially a sprint. I was really looking forward to racing in the spring, but even though we missed out we still got some great moments in the fall. Did you have a favorite moment or event this past fall?

Angelina: Yeah, I did. I’d say my favorite game that we got to play in the fall was UCLA. It was at UCLA. They had a brand new field opening up that night. We were the first to play on it under the lights and UCLA is a top contender, they’re a really really talented team with some really special players. We knew that going in, we knew that it was going to be rough, but we had a pretty solid game plan and a good mentality. We went in and we beat them and it was a really really intense game. It was just so exciting, the crowd was just so full. It was their brand new stadium under the lights and we just came in like we’re the underdogs and yeah, it was just really exciting. I think anyone on my team would say that was their favorite moment from this season. It was just really special. Those moments are fun.

Richmond: It literally sounds like a movie. *laughs*

Angelina: It really does, it felt like I was in a movie. It was so much fun.

Richmond: So what’re you doing for workouts now? Are you just taking some time off or are you still training?

Angelina: Nope, you can’t take time off. If you take time off, someone else is working harder. Also, I just— I don’t know— you’re probably the same way. I feel like athletes after you take a few days off I just get too antsy, I can’t do it. It’s been hard for me. Some fields are open, but even if the fields are open, not many of them have goals. So it’s hard for me as a goalkeeper to train without a goal, but I’ve definitely been working on my fitness a lot which is cool because usually, in-season my training is goalkeeper specific. Which a lot of goalkeeping isn’t running so— *laughs*

It’s been nice because I actually enjoy going on runs and working on that side of my game. It’s been cool, I have to kinda create my own workouts and get involved because there’s no gym available. California is pretty much on just a major lockdown. I don’t know how it is for you but nothing is really open yet around me so I’ve had to like— I made a workout the other day on my deck outside with potting soil bags *laughs* just trying to get a lift in. I’d say that the biggest thing that’s been available to me is just working on my fitness and trying to get on some fields with some of my teammates and ex-teammates from my high school and club days and just try to touch the ball at least. It’s hard though— not the same.

Richmond: What’s motivating you to keep training?

Angelina: That was definitely something I struggled with at the beginning. When we were in quarantine and we literally couldn’t go see anyone that was something I was struggling with. I do get a lot of my motivation from my coaches and teammates, but I think the thing that kept me going honestly was— 1: We stayed in contact with our team through zoom meetings and we have fitness groups that we can text each other and just check in with what we’re doing. I think that seeing and knowing my teammates are putting in the work motivates and motivated me. I mean— I didn’t want to be that weak link once we got back to the season. I wanted to be there for my team and be as prepared as possible.

So I think my teammates, my coaches, we’re being supportive, as much as they could be so that was motivating.

The second piece is thinking about my competition once I come into the season. Thinking about Stanford, UCLA, USC, thinking about what those girls are doing right now. If I fall off the wagon it’s not going to be looking good in season So yeah, my teammates, and then thinking about all my other competition.

Right now it’s about who’s gonna be prepared the most because everyone is in the same boat.

Richmond: Would you say the same thing motivated you during the year?

Angelina: I think I’ve always drawn a lot of motivation from my teammates. I think I really just wanted to make an impact my freshman year. I definitely didn’t expect to start or break these records or get these awards. That was amazing, of course, a cherry on top, but I think what really motivates me is that I want to make an impact on my team. Cal had a rough season the season before I came in and I think that was something that I really wanted to try and turn around. Which I’m glad I got the opportunity to do.

Richmond: What’re some of your aspirations from this point on?

Angelina: Professionally, like I kind of touched on earlier I’m not 100% sure yet and I’m totally comfortable with that just because I don't want to lock myself into something— I know I’m still growing and changing and things are new to me. I know for me this is the time I’m supposed to be experiencing everything as it comes and try to start figuring it all out.

I’ve always been really interested in the health field. I used to really really want to go to medical school. And then I was like I can’t do math, so that’s not gonna work *laughs* . I do have aspirations of going to grad school whether that be medical school or whatever field of study I choose. I just feel like more schooling is in my future. I can see myself just continuing to learn and get credentials here and there.

I’m not really sure with soccer what my dreams are with that yet. I'm just trying to enjoy the process as much as I can and being really present in the moment with it I think. I mean, my dad played football in college. He always told me “I was always so stressed, I was always so focused on what I was doing and how was I going to be the best, etc).” I feel like those things are good, I have a lot of those traits, but the other side of it is that you don't enjoy things as much as you might. So I’m trying to change that mindset now and just enjoy this process of being an athlete. That’s kind of where I’m at now, but that could literally change tomorrow.

Richmond: Yeah, same here. I mean for the most part I have no clue what I’m doing or where I’ll end up.

Angelina: Yeah, I mean I’m also just very lucky to be going to Berkeley where the academics are just amazing, my classes amazing, and my professors are great. There's so many things that are coming my way that are just great. I’m just trying to experience and make my mind up as I go.

Richmond: Alright so, this is the last question. It’s more of a fun fact. It’s like the first day of class here. *laughs* What’s something most people don't know about you.

Angelina: *thinks intensely for 30 seconds*

I feel like a lot of people probably do know this about me but I’m a nature lover. I don’t know if that counts but I love going outside, going on hikes. I also— I know I’m an English minor, but I love writing, I love reading. I know those aren’t necessarily fun facts, like anybody could guess those.

*returns to deep thought*

If I say this do you promise you won't make me do it?

Richmond: I thought about it. It’s 50/50. *laughs*

Angelina:I know I can’t do it on the spot that's the reason why. I’m a pretty good impersonator with accents and things like that. I really won't be able to do it on the spot *laughs*

Richmond: Maybe later. *laughs*

Angelina: Yeah, who knows, maybe it’ll just come out. *laughs*

Angelina striking a pose!

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