There are a lot of notebooks throughout Penn’s campus, some filled with bullet points on Marxism, and others with outlines of Aristotle’s ideas of dramatic structure.
Junior Alex Reddy’s notebook is a little different, filled with years of lessons on “what it takes to succeed” as a soccer player at the next level.
In his freshman year, Reddy joined the Penn soccer team poised to be a star — or at least a contributing player.
As Reddy soon learned, however, expectations can be tempered quickly at the collegiate level.
“Coming in, he needed to put on weight, make cleaner plays on the ball and make less mistakes,” coach Rudy Fuller said. “All these little things.”
Reddy came into Penn as a forward, and in his first two seasons, he saw the field only occasionally, starting in just four games.
And that’s where the notebook comes in.
“We would talk to him about all these things, and to his credit, he had a notebook,” Fuller said. “And he would take down all those things, and he worked his tail off.”
When the team started training again last spring, the coaching staff approached Reddy about moving to left defensive back, a change he wasn’t thrilled about.
“I had always known that playing in that position was a possibility, and by last spring, I just accepted it,” Reddy said. “I did what I had to do.”
As the team transitioned from the spring to the summer, Fuller pressed Reddy to find a club team where he would be able to play at left back in order to hone his skills for this season.
Understanding his new role, Reddy took the advice.
“We’re not asking him to like it, and Alex probably didn’t like it,” Fuller said. “To his credit, he kept working hard.”
In addition, Reddy makes use of his particular talents. He’s a lefty, which is a rarity in soccer and helps him as he’s learning a position on the fly.
“Being a left-footed player allows Alex to get to balls that he wouldn’t be able to if he was right-footed,” Fuller said. “But it also gives the other team a different look.”
Reddy has settled into his role, starting every game so far this season, and while his job now is primarily a defensive one, Penn’s system allows for the edge defenders to attack more often than a traditional setup would.
In the season opener against Lafayette, he drilled a free kick past the goalie from almost 40 yards out.
Reddy, allowing the attacker inside of him to speak, enjoys this aspect of the position.
“You know, I love to get forward,” Reddy said. “It’s nice to be a part of the action.”
This weekend, Penn (0-4) goes up against Villanova (4-1) on Friday night at Rhodes Field, followed by a trip down to Georgetown to take on the Hoyas (5-0-1) on Sunday. Despite his offensive inclinations, Reddy’s focus this weekend will have to be on the defensive side of the ball, as both of the Quakers’ opponents have the ability to score at ease.
As long as Reddy stays true to the hard work that led him to become a starter, he’s sure to rise to the occasion.