Alexander “Xan” Alleyne has soccer in his blood, so there was never much question that he would play at a high level — if, that is, he took care of other matters, namely academics.
“I know what type of soccer player he is, but soccer was first and everything else was second,” recalled Alleyne’s father, Edgar. “He went to a soccer camp at Dartmouth and heard it from college coaches: If you don’t put forth the effort in the classroom, you’re not going to be able to play soccer.”
That camp was after Alleyne’s freshman year at Swampscott High School. He, his father and his mother, Marcia, all agreed that he needed a change of environment, so they paid a visit to St. Mary’s that summer. The first person they met was Principal Carl DiMaiti and the result was typical of when DiMaiti shows a family around the school: They were sold.
“It was about his education, and his focusing and becoming more of a student,” Marcia said.
In retrospect, the Alleynes, who live in Swampscott, made the right decision, validated when Xan signed a letter of intent to play soccer at Merrimack College in the fall. He will receive a partial scholarship.
“I’m very excited,” said Alleyne, who also considered Franklin Pierce, Saint Anselm and Brandeis. “I really like the school and they have my major (sports management).”
In three years playing for Coach Mike D’Agostino at St. Mary’s, Alleyne distinguished himself as one of the best players in school history. Last fall, he was fifth in the state in scoring with 21 goals and 18 assists, leading the Spartans to their first Catholic Central League championship in six years. He made the Boston Herald All-Scholastic team, was named (Lynn) Item Player of the Year and chosen for the All-State team.
“Xan is a very skilled player who can score and distribute the ball,” D’Agostino said of his captain, who plays midfield and forward. “He plays the game with great intensity and he is a natural leader on and off the field. It’s a pleasure to see him going to the next level.”
Alleyne, who plays for the Mass Premier Soccer Knights club team and is running spring track this year, is not sure that would be the case if he had not come to St. Mary’s. “I love St. Mary’s,” he said. “It was a very good decision for me to come here. I met a lot of people who have helped me.”
His father, who was a soccer star at Lynn English and Salem State, and coached the Salem State women’s team in the early 1990s, could not agree more. “It changed his life,” Edgar said. “This place gave him an opportunity. It is a place where he fits in.”