Webster University senior Ashley Mess capped off her soccer career at Webster by being named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-American Team.
Ashley is the first student-athlete to be awarded this honor in Webster history. Not only was she named St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) co-defensive player of the year, she also made the dean’s list.
Soccer has been part of Ashley’s life since a very young age. Growing up, she played soccer with her twin sister, Jessica. Both Mess twins played on the same teams in youth varsity leagues and then at Northwest High School and at Webster.
Her favorite player growing up was Mia Hamm, and Ashley cites her father as a major influence.
“My dad has always been super into soccer,” Ashley said. “His dad coached him when he was younger, and our dad coached us when we were younger.”
In the four seasons the Mess twins played for Webster University, the women’s soccer team won the SLIAC tournament three times. Ashley started her Division III career as a forward, but was moved to defense after a bout with tendinitis. Ashley soon excelled as a sweeper on a championship team.
Women’s soccer coach Luigi Scire was quick to say how important Ashley was for the team.
“She’s been an important part of this team for the last four years,” Scire said. “The day she stepped on to the campus, she was going to be an important part of it. Very valuable, both on and off the field.”
Not only was Ashley one of the best players on her team, she was one of its leaders. For her junior and senior seasons, Mess was the captain of the soccer team. Her sister Jessica described her as outgoing and friendly, but also as someone who will take control of situations.
“She’s a very commanding presence when she’s back there,” Jessica said.
Ashley anchored the defense for the entire game, and was never substituted for. Ashley had the same commitment for conditioning and practice she brought to the games. Her coach described how important her role is on the team.
“She plays one of the most important positions on the field as a sweep,” Scire said. “It’s the last line on the defense. It’s the anchor to our defense, and when things go down her responsibility was always to clean up the mess.”
With Ashley approaching graduation, she is thinking about her future. She is an advertising and marketing major, and has a 3.88 cumulative GPA. After graduation, Ashley intends to pursue a career in her major and work her way up. She hopes to stay around the St. Louis area, and intends to play and coach soccer post-graduation.