LOCAL Houston | The City Guide JUNE 2016 - Page 54

Jacket and dress @ Top Shop, Kenzo Sneakers @ Neiman Marcus ALLYSHA CHAPMAN | DEFENDER | TEAM CANADA Originally from Courtice, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto), and just 5-foot-3 inches, Allysha Chapman looks like the girl next door. From a quick glance, you’d have no idea how aggressive she can be on the field, how hard she’s worked to get to where she is, and just how passionate she is about her sport. The 27-year-old defender takes her job, the same job she’s dreamed about since she was a little girl, incredibly seriously. She knows firsthand it’s been a long road to get women’s soccer to where it is today and she’s using her aggressiveness, persistence and uplifting attitude to help keep it on that track. “Women’s soccer has come a long way in the last 10 years and I’m lucky to be benefiting from women who had to work really hard to promote the game. It’s only growing and getting better, and women are getting more recognized. I think it’s all great – the World Cup we just had in the summer generated a lot of viewers and fans,” she says. Chapman not only played in every game for Canada in last year’s tournament, but every minute. So yeah, she’s kind of a big deal – for the Houston Dash, Canada and women’s soccer. And those are big shoes to fill. Chapman, or Chappy as her friends call her, has been a fan of the Olympics since she can remember and knows it’s a huge honor. “The Olympics are the pinnacle of sports. Every athlete dreams of going to the Olympics – it’s a lot of pressure but I think we can build on our (Canada’s) Olympic bronze four years ago and I’m really excited for my first Olympics,” she says. No matter how long she’s dreamt of this opportunity, there are still a lot of unknowns, which keeps it exciting. “I have no idea what it’s going to be like,” she admits, not afraid of any challenges. Chapman realizes she has a huge stage to help other young girls realize their dreams of one day playing the sport she loves so much. Being a role model to so many and representing her country puts the pressure on, but Chapman says there are others she wants to make proud, like her parents who have been taking her to practices since she was five. Chapman says dedication is a word she feels accurately sums up her career thus far. “I’m really happy with where women’s soccer is right now, but it can only get better from here,” Chapman concludes. 54 L O C A L | june 16