From the sidelines to the net: The return of Allison LaPoint

CMU's Allison Lapoint poses for a studio portrait, Oct. 2, Moore Hall

As a young girl, Allison LaPoint spent her childhood dreaming of being a goalkeeper. Although she didn’t start out as a goalie, she slowly found her passion for protecting the net after being thrown into the position during a game.

“I was always a ‘yes’ person when I was a kid,” LaPoint said. “I eventually was like, ‘yeah I’ll try it out’ and I’ve been into it ever since.”

Growing up in Royal Oak at a small school, the opportunity to get scouted by college teams was low. Her club team, Vardar Soccer, opened the opportunity for LaPoint to play at Central Michigan. 

“I ended up committing here my junior year,” LaPoint said. “I loved the campus; I had already been on campus a little bit because my older sister went here and that was a big selling point for me.”

LaPoint spent many of her adolescent years in Mount Pleasant, as she is the daughter of two Central Michigan alumni. LaPoint immediately clicked with the team and the campus as she started her first year in 2020. 

A hard-learned lesson

During her freshman year at CMU, she played all 90 minutes for nine games, making her the starting goalkeeper for the season. She continued to be the starting goalkeeper until her season-ending injury in March of 2022.

“I got hit in the head at a practice during the spring season,” LaPoint said. “I ended up being fine and practicing that week but then I started to feel a little off, so they sat me out for concussion protocol.”

LaPoint spent months recovering from her concussion, eventually deciding to sit out her junior year. She took this opportunity to learn the game from the sidelines by watching her teammates play.

“I had to take the role of being a positive leader on the bench,” LaPoint said. “It was new to me and hard to accept for a little bit, but I realized I had to take a season off. It was a rough season for us, but I enjoyed it, I learned a lot from the sidelines. As a goalkeeper, you must know all positions, so I learned a lot just by watching.”

Throughout her recovery process, LaPoint was able to assess herself both physically and mentally by realizing that she needed to adapt to a new normal and break old habits.

“I’m a very mental player,” LaPoint said. “I think the most important thing is just staying positive. It’s about learning from those mistakes and just moving on, especially because I don’t have that much time left here.”

For LaPoint, her injury was not a negative but rather a positive. A year ago, she didn’t step foot on the field, now she is faced with playing full 90-minute games all season.

“I’m a big overthinker,” LaPoint said. “I must take a step back and look at the bigger picture. A year ago, I wasn’t playing, so I am very lucky to be in the spot that I am now. It has made me grateful for every opportunity I have had.”

Not living with regrets is one of the biggest takeaways that LaPoint carried into the current season. She has grown to realize the importance of seizing every opportunity and dedicates her game to herself and those who have supported her from the beginning.

“I think it’s playing for others as much as playing for myself,” LaPoint said. “I strive to make (the jobs easier for) the people around me … and I know they do the same for me.”

Playing it game by game

This season, the Chippewas strive to win the Mid-American Conference championship, however, LaPoint has separate goals for herself as she finishes out her last few seasons as a Chippewa.

“I pride myself in shutouts,” LaPoint said. “I want to get as many shutouts as I can get. I had six my sophomore year and I want to beat that number.”

LaPoint has started every game for the Chippewa’s this season and has made a total of 52 saves. The season continues, with less than five games and still plenty of opportunities for her to earn shutouts.

LaPoint expressed her gratitude for the many opportunities and the endless support she gained from coaches, teammates and her family throughout her entire recovery process. Without those, she believes she would not be the goalkeeper she is today.

“I’m just very grateful for the opportunities that my coaches Jeremy (Groves), Keyton (Wheelock), and Leslie (Gillies) give me,” LaPoint said. “I love my team, it’s like a family. 

“They put their trust in me, even though I took a whole year off, and that trust didn’t skip a beat.”