Brianna Alger is every team’s dream defender

WSU junior woke up to massive amounts of media attention from ESPN to NBC

Junior+defender+Brianna+Alger+dribbles+up+the+field+after+taking+the+ball+from+James+Madison+University%E2%80%99s+forward+Aug.+31+at+the+Lower+Soccer+Field.
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Brianna Alger is every team’s dream defender

Junior defender Brianna Alger dribbles up the field after taking the ball from James Madison University’s forward Aug. 31 at the Lower Soccer Field.

Junior defender Brianna Alger dribbles up the field after taking the ball from James Madison University’s forward Aug. 31 at the Lower Soccer Field.

ABIGAIL LINNENKOHL | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Junior defender Brianna Alger dribbles up the field after taking the ball from James Madison University’s forward Aug. 31 at the Lower Soccer Field.

ABIGAIL LINNENKOHL | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

ABIGAIL LINNENKOHL | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Junior defender Brianna Alger dribbles up the field after taking the ball from James Madison University’s forward Aug. 31 at the Lower Soccer Field.

JACLYN SEIFERT, Evergreen reporter

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She woke up like most mornings for another 7 a.m. practice alongside her teammates on the lower soccer field at WSU. What was not ordinary that morning? Her coach pulled her aside and said, “Hey, ESPN is asking to have your video.”

“It was request after request after request,” Brianna said.

It was not until junior defender Brianna Alger, 21, looked at her phone after practice to realize she no longer could keep her account on private with only 254 Instagram followers.

The 5-foot 9-inch defender had the move of her life against Arizona State University on Oct. 12 with only three minutes left in the first half. The impressive breakaway crossing over the ball and then faking right to dribble around an Arizona State midfielder would take her far beyond than just performing an ordinary move that day.

The video then went viral on several different social media platforms, from an initial slow-motion video posted on twitter of Brianna wearing her number 12 WSU pink jersey in support of breast cancer awareness with almost seven million views.

Jessica Greer, who is the coordinator of operations at WSU Soccer, said that Brianna is a humble athlete and always willing to put her team first.

“Bri is very selfless. Going into that day and even now after there has not been a difference in her with all the attention she got,” Greer said. “She went from 250 followers on Instagram to over 30,000 and she has not changed a single bit.”

The video was shared on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook on Sports Center, NCAA Soccer, ESPN, NBC Sports, Good Morning America, Fox News, Barstool and “433.” This was not including the multiple smaller news organizations that shared it in over five countries around the world.

“It is just nice to see people who play soccer being inspired by something that I really mistakenly did,” Brianna said. “We always like to represent Cougs, and I love this school, so I feel like it has been getting more recognition which I think it deserves.”

Though the WSU junior studying business became famous for her viral video, Brianna does not always enjoy the spotlight. Before coming to Pullman, Brianna called Monument, Colorado home. Being recognized is nothing new for the Colorado native, but its something she does not necessarily enjoy.

“We had newspapers wanting to talk to her after every single game, but she always was like my teammates did just as much as me,” Ryan Parsons said, who coached Brianna in high school. “She wants other people to get credit and that is huge.”

Brianna was recognized on several different occasions in high school. She was a four-year letter winner at Lewis-Palmer high school, a two-time Colorado high school activity association 4A girls’ soccer player of the year, and four-time Pike’s Peak Athletic Conference Player of the Year. In 73 games, she had 91 goals and 38 assists, according to the WSU athletics website.

“Even whenever I played forward, I always liked being the assister. I don’t like having the attention on me, so I feel like it gives you recognition without being the main headline,” Brianna said.

This year the Pac-12 recognized Brianna, who recently changed her position from forward to left defender, twice as the Pac-12 defensive player of the week this season. Brianna currently leads her team with nine assists. She also sits third in the PAC-12 and is in a 21-person tie for seventh in the nation.

Brianna’s father, Bryan Alger, said that she has been naturally talented from a soccer standpoint ever since she was young.

“She is good at putting the ball in a position where someone else can get the ball and score,” Bryan said. “If we had traded things differently and had been all about the goalscorer, I think she would struggle with that.”

Head coach Todd Shulenberger, who decided to move Brianna to a defender, said she has always been an athletic and technical player on the ball.

“She is hard on herself, but she is a quiet leader,” Shulenberger said.

Bryan said that he and his wife are proud of the women she is at this point in her life. He said with so much positive spotlight, it was hard for him to look the other way about the ASU defender.

“As much positive attention Bri is getting, this poor girl was getting the negative part of it,” Bryan said.

He also mentioned how he was frustrated by someone in another country posing as his daughter on a fake Tik-Tok account. The fake video received over four million views.

“Over one video, someone was already trying to steal her identity and profit off it or something,” Bryan said.

Bryan said he had seen Brianna make other moves better than the one that went viral and that no parent can prepare for their child to go viral.

“I do not know that anyone can really prepare for that,” Bryan said.

Brianna said the first question people have asked her recently after the video went viral was how her life has changed. She said she feels pressure to keep doing moves to inspire people but that it will also push her to work on her technical abilities to perform for the people that are watching.

“I just have more followers, but nothing else has changed,” Brianna said.

Beyond just the move she performed and the millions of views online, Brianna said looking back her advice to players just starting in the game is that it does not take anything major to make a difference.

“I just did one move, and it has really inspired a lot of people,” Brianna said.