Long Beach State women’s soccer’s Elysia Laramie is fiercely competitive on the field but laid back in conversation.
Her disposition reflects her ability to play two positions that require opposing mentalities and skills. Laramie, who leads the Beach in scoring, believes playing both defense and forward has been instrumental in advancing her abilities on the field.
“Being versatile has helped me a lot,” Laramie said.“Not only on this team, but also in the recruiting process and everywhere I’ve gone.”
Laramie’s adaptability makes it easy to forget that she is only a sophomore. Her savvy veteran presence comes as a result of training with the U-18 US Women’s National Team in May 2018.
“I think that changed my whole mindset about the game,” Laramie said. “It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with soccer.”
The national team noticed her defensive play with Simi Valley High School, where she played on the backline for three seasons. While she was a forward before entering high school, she became a true offensive threat in 2017-18 while playing for Eagles SC, a club team that is part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
“She played outside forward for us and she also played center-back for us,” Eagles head coach Mikey Alexander said. “She had a nose for the goal.”
Laramie was so talented at both positions that the U.S. National team had trouble deciding which position to ask her to play before the two-week training camp started.
“We were told [by U.S. Soccer] that she needed to go up front to play there,” Alexander said. “Then she got called into camp to actually be a center-back.”
The training camp developed Laramie’s skillset, but she believes the most important thing she learned there was mental discipline.
“We had three meetings a day just to get our minds right for practices,” Laramie said. “We worked a lot on learning about the phases of the game.”
Long Beach State head coach Mauricio Ingrassia agreed that the camp was critical in expanding Laramie’s game.
“That’s why you have who you have,” Ingrassia said. “You have somebody who is an excellent defender…and you also have someone who has some offensive skills who has the ability and the comfort level to step in the front row and do what she’s doing.”
Laramie’s training has certainly helped her progress as a player, but that training wouldn’t have been effective if not for her willingness to step into whatever role she is asked to fill. That willingness stems from her deep love of the game.
“Coaches always ask me what position I like more, but I like them both equally,” Laramie said.
Laramie is currently second in the Big West Conference in goals scored in conference play, so she’ll likely play forward for the remainder of the season. However, if the Beach needs to strengthen the defense, Laramie will be ready.
“She’s just a very special kid,” Ingrassia said.