by Dennis Dalman
Alyssa Frank of Sartell feels like one of the luckiest young women in Minnesota, having just won the “Mike Warter Scholarship” from the State High School Soccer Coaches’ Association.
It’s a rare honor. Only one female and one male in the state receive the $1,000 scholarship each year.
It takes more than “luck” to win that prestigious scholarship, however. It takes talent, dedication, hard work and community involvement. Frank is a senior at Sartell High School and plays defense for the Sabre Girls’ Soccer Team.
“I was shocked and happy to win that scholarship,” Frank said.
Among her other honors, Frank was named to the All-State Soccer team and is the recipient of the Triple A award for arts, academics and athletics. She is a member of Student Council, the National Honor Society and the High School Jazz Band (she plays trumpet). In the summer, she coaches soccer through the Sartell-St. Stephen Community Education program.
Sartell Mayor Joe Perske, who coached Frank in soccer when she was in ninth grade, was elated when he heard she won the Warter Scholarship. He went over to congratulate her in person.
“It’s a big honor, and she deserves it,” Perske said. “Alyssa is fantastic.”
Perske witnessed an unfortunate incident last fall when the Sartell Sabre soccer team was playing in Bemidji against that city’s team. The Sabres were up 3-1 when, in a sudden mishap, Frank’s right knee was badly injured. That occurred in the second half of the team’s very last game of the season.
After surgery for the knee, Frank was on crutches for a couple of weeks, and she couldn’t play soccer for six months. Now she’s back at it, happier than ever to play the game she loves almost more than anything.
Mike Warter, for which the scholarship is named, was a girls’ soccer coach in Eagan for 25 years who died in 2000. Warter single-handedly made girls’ soccer a sport to be widely respected.
Considered the state pioneer for women’s soccer, he developed a Minneapolis park team into one of the best in the state and also coached the University of Minnesota team for nine years – a team that won the National Club championship in 1988.
Warter’s goal was always to “nurture good play, good friendship, better facilities, proficient coaching and the happiest of times for all participants.”
Frank is the daughter of Brian and Michella Frank. She had played soccer since she was in fifth grade. Her two siblings, sisters Kelsey, a 10th-grader; and Hannah, a fourth-grader, also love to play soccer.