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Tennessee soccer commit Ali Howard paved her own path
Credit: @alihowardsoccer17_/Instagram

Tennessee soccer commit Ali Howard paved her own path

EADS, Tenn. (BVM) – Ali Howard has emerged as one of the best soccer players in the state of Tennessee. The Briarcrest Christian School striker banged in 18 goals while also racking up six assists. The rising senior forward has already opened up opportunities for her future with a scholarship at the University of Tennessee awaiting her.

She has earned everything, even though she could have gone a much simpler, easier route. 

Ali is the daughter of legendary United States goalkeeper Tim Howard. The USMNT’s most-capped goalie of all time played in 600 career club games highlighted by his time in the Premier League with Everton and Manchester United and in the MLS with the Colorado Rapids and the New York Red Bulls.

She could have had a soccer career handed to her on a silver platter thanks to her dad’s connections, but that is not how she wanted to go about things.

Ali instead almost hid who her father was, that way she was recognized for her own play, rather than solely her last name.

“Everyone knows my dad and how his career was amazing,” Ali said. “My journey is different. It’s my own special journey. I didn’t think it was important to share that he was my dad, because he’s had his journey, he’s had his career and it was great. But now it’s my turn to be great. I just want it to be my own.”

Ali Howard Tim Howard Tennessee soccer
Credit: @alihowardsoccer17_/Instagram

Ali’s soccer journey started as a 3-year-old, as running around on the field after her dad’s games quickly turned into her playing. It was the ability to be able to push herself and the small intricacies in the beautiful game that made her want to continue the family tradition.

Tim has obviously given her some pointers over the years, but it was his work ethic that stood out the most to Ali.

“He has always told me that I can achieve my dreams if I work hard and put my mind to it,” Ali said. “That is what I’ve been doing and hope to continue to do and plan on doing in the future. Nothing is ever going to be handed to you.”

The hard work paid off for the Memphis-area star as she had plenty of big college programs after her, but the Volunteers in Knoxville stood out the most. Whether it was the roster, the coaching staff or the environment as a whole, Tennessee checked off all the boxes she was looking for.

Ali committed to the school on May 2.

Ali Howard Tennessee soccer
Credit: @alihowardsoccer17_/Instagram

“I truly 100% believe that this (Tennessee) is where I was supposed to end up,” Ali said. “It is such a privilege to get to represent my home state and I am so looking forward to being able to do that.”

Ali has always had the belief that she would be able to get to this point. Not in a cocky way, but in a vigorously determined way that every top athlete shares to maximize their ceiling.

“I always reach for the stars and I always dream big,” Ali said. “I always believed if I wanted to, if I worked hard, and the opportunity arose, that I would love to make a career for myself.”

With that being said, she knows she is not a finished product. High school to college is a huge jump and she still wants to improve both physically and mentally in her final prep year before she gets there.

“I just have to keep working on it,” Ali said. “Sometimes I have to give myself a little grace and be like, ‘Hey, you can’t be perfect all the time.’ That’s one of the things I’m still learning and still working on because I am hard on myself. I am probably my worst critic. I think sometimes that’s good, but sometimes I just have to take a step back and realize it’s okay to not be perfect all the time.”

Ali, despite still being in high school, also has some international experience.

She has already played for the Olympic Development Program National Team where she was surrounded by other top players and coaches.

“It’s a professional environment,” Ali said. “You have such a short time to learn your teammates. That was something I leaned into and was like, ‘I’m gonna embrace this challenge.’ I love uncomfortable situations and challenging myself. Everything is so fast paced and I think that was a great experience for me before going to college. I loved every second of it.”

Ali has a state championship with the Saints at the forefront of her goals in her senior year as well as making an impact at Tennessee once she gets to Knoxville. After that, do not be surprised if she makes an international and pro impact just like her dad.

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