Highland junior Aaliyah Cleveland is a lot of things. A breakout star and the Scots' top scorer, make no mistake, she is not from the Midwest and is not a fan of all those Cleveland sports teams. "I've heard it all," she said.
This year, what hasn't been a joke, is her on field play. "She's just a force on the field," 14 year coach Tom Ferralli said. "Doesn't matter what side she rotates to, she's going to play the ball equally well with both feet."
Aaliyah has scored eleven goals this season but until recently, didn't consider herself one of the best players at Highland. That all changed after the midfielder scored her first goal. "Wow I can actually shoot like this?" she remembers thinking. When asked if she liked that goal scoring feeling, "I do but it's a lot of pressure.
Something that's taken the pressure off a little bit is the Scots' family atmosphere. "There's just a chemistry that I haven't felt in a long time," Ferralli said. "You listen to them, they laugh. They're like a bunch of sisters out there."
Of course here at Highland, that takes on a literal meaning. Her sister Alyssa Cleveland is adjusting to her play on the field and is learning it's different to play with family.
But with Aaliyah netting goals and the Scots playing for each other their eyes are already looking toward the postseason. "There's definitely a legacy created here and they want to fulfill that," Ferralli said.
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