Allie Williams hadn’t played goalkeeper before.
But when she entered the Archbishop Murphy High School girls soccer program as a freshman three years ago, the Wildcats had an opening at the position. So despite having been a defender for virtually her entire soccer career, she agreed to move to goalie.
The position change paid off, with Williams developing into a stalwart keeper for Archbishop Murphy over the past four seasons.
“She made a huge sacrifice for this team,” Wildcats coach Mike Bartley said. “We asked her (if) she could go to goalkeeping full time, because we just didn’t see any goalkeepers in the future. And at first, she was reluctant, because she’s a really good field player. She didn’t really want to give up that.
“But I tell you what, she came through and just excelled. I mean, she just got better and better every year. She works so hard. She’s an amazing shot blocker. … And then it showed this year especially, because she was absolutely fantastic for this team.”
This fall, Williams played a key role in Archbishop Murphy’s run to the Class 2A state title and a perfect 23-0 season.
As the Wildcats’ primary goalkeeper, Williams posted 11 shutouts and a 0.33 goals against average in 15 matches. During the postseason, she recorded six shutouts in seven matches and yielded only one goal.
Along with her team’s stout defense, Williams was a big reason why Archbishop Murphy surrendered just seven goals all season.
“Her sacrifice to play in the goal was huge,” Bartley said. “I think that was a big part of why we won state and why we were so successful this year.”
Williams’ biggest moment came in the state championship match, when she made four saves and posted a shutout in the Wildcats’ 2-0 win over Hockinson.
In the first half of that match, Williams made a particularly pivotal save. As Bartley described, a Hockinson forward split two defenders and broke toward the goal. But Williams came off her line and smothered the ensuing shot to keep it scoreless.
“She came up huge in the final,” Bartley said. “… That was a moment that could’ve gone a totally different direction if she wouldn’t have made that save.
“She’s a fearless player,” he added. “I mean, if she decided to go for the ball, she went all in.”
Williams comes from a family of soccer standouts, with two older brothers who were prep stars in the area.
Matt Williams was the 2017 Boys Soccer Gatorade State Player of the Year and led Archbishop Murphy to three consecutive 2A state titles, including an undefeated season in 2017.
Jake Williams starred for Jackson, leading the Timberwolves to a program-best third-place finish in the 2019 4A state tournament. He began his college career at Seattle Pacific University before transferring to Chapman University, where he played this fall.
Matt and Jake were both big-time goal scorers in high school.
But as a goalkeeper, Allie carved out her own legacy.
“Allie was an unsung hero,” Bartley said. “(She) sacrificed where she’d like to play for the better of the team.”
Following the state championship match, Williams was voted The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Nov. 15-21. She went on to win The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Month poll for November by receiving 284 (75.7%) of the 375 votes.
The Herald caught up with Williams to talk about her soccer career, winning the state championship, and her off-the-field passion that she’s planning to turn into a business:
How did you get into soccer initially?
I started soccer when I was 3. (My) two older brothers got me into it. … They always supported me and came to a lot of my stuff. And I learned everything I know from them.
What was it like transitioning from defender to goalkeeper?
It was definitely a lot different, but we had good coaches. And for outside back, I’m kind of a more fearless player. I just throw my body everywhere. So I just kind of had that (mentality) in goal. … And so I kind of played goalie like a defender, especially my first two years.
What was it like winning the state title and completing a perfect season?
It was really cool winning the state title. We’ve all been working at it for the last four years (and) wanting this really bad, because it’s been a lot of the same group. … So it’s always been our plan. We were undefeated last (spring) too, so I feel like we could’ve had a pretty good run at it (if it’d been a full season). But yeah, it was like a dream come true for all of us.
Has it sunk in what you and your teammates accomplished, or is it still a bit surreal?
A little bit of both. It’s kind of crazy, because it’s just been like a big dream. Like, everything we wanted reached up to this moment. So yeah, I’m still a little bit in shock over it.
What was it like being part of this senior class?
We’re all really good friends on and off the field, so that’s kind of nice. (We have) a lot of chemistry. And we all met through high school soccer. (These) four years, we’ve all been super competitive and all of us really wanted this.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of soccer?
I’m really into fashion. I make a lot of clothes. So actually, the day after the state championship, I had my portfolio shooting. That was where I went to a photoshoot (for) all of my clothes. I made all of my clothes and they photographed them. So that was really cool. That was like another dream come true.
How do you make your own clothes?
First, I’ll make a pattern for it or I’ll just come up with an idea. And then I use my sewing machine and just kind of go for it.
How did you get into making clothes?
I’ve always liked art. And then it kind of just grew bigger. And then I realized that I really liked the fashion aspect more. … I’m working on starting a business right now for it and trying to get into one of the top fashion schools.